What is fieldwork? Most ethnomusicologists do it, although there is little agreement on what it is. Is it a colonizing endeavour, a domestication of the world into shapes that we can make sense of, make jump through hoops of our own design? Or is it a transformative experience that destabilizes and changes what we think we know, who we are, who we think we are? That, as they say, is the question! Some sort of research with living things — that seems to be about as close to an all-inclusive definition as we can find to cover the tremendous range of work that our faculty and students do..

Nil Basdurak, doing a soundwalk on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district. The people in the crowd behind are about to break their fast, since it is the month of Ramadan.

Istanbul, Turkey, 2019

Nadia Younan (r) during an interview with Assyrian pop star Linda George. 

Chicago, Illinois, May 2017

Dennis Lee (r) with vocalist Tonny Christian Pangemanan of Noxa, one of Jakarta’s premiere grindcore bands.

Jakarta, Indonesia, May 2018

Paul Kuivinen (l) plays Tatar music for Polina Dessiatnitchenko, husband Khagani, and son Daris.

Baku, Azerbaijan, April 2018

Jack Harrison and his steed George investigate the sonic aspects of interspecies communication in — or rather next to — a field!

Redhouse Farm, Leamington Spa, UK, 2018
(Photo by Alan Harrison)

Yi Suyong talks to Josh Pilzer about her childhood in Hiroshima, Japan, and her later visits there.

Hapcheon, South Korea, August 2015
(Photo by David Novak)

Action from a São João quadrilha, part of the Festas de São João (or Festas Juninas), focus of fieldwork undertaken by Jeff Packman.

Cachoeira, Bahia State, Brazil, summer 2019
(Photo by Jeff Packman)

A blast from the past…. Jim Kippen accompanying his ustad, the great Afaq Husain (1930-90) of Lucknow, at a private gathering in Calcutta in the early 1980s.

Calcutta, India, c.1983
(Photo by Gilles Bourquin)