Doctoral candidate Nil Basdurak resourcefully repurposed student assignments to address the pandemic when the upper-level undergraduate elective she was teaching was moved online and no student practicum was possible. Instead, Nil asked her students in An Introduction to Sound Studies to create podcasts that captured sounds and experiences of the unique situation in which we have found ourselves, locally and globally. You can read about and hear the results by clicking here.


Prof. Farzaneh Hemmasi’s new book Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California’s Iranian Pop Music (Duke University Press) is now available. Los Angeles, called Tehrangeles because it is home to the largest concentration of Iranians outside of Iran, is the birthplace of a distinctive form of postrevolutionary pop music. Created by professional musicians and media producers fleeing Iran’s revolutionary-era ban on “immoral” popular music, Tehrangeles pop has been a part of daily life for Iranians at home and abroad for decades. In Tehrangeles Dreaming Farzaneh Hemmasi draws on ethnographic fieldwork in Los Angeles and musical and textual analysis to examine how the songs, music videos, and television made in Tehrangeles express modes of Iranianness not possible in Iran. (Visit the link above to learn more…)

Farzi’s Angels

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Doctoral candidate Nadia Younan has her first peer-reviewed publication, surely the first of many! Titled “Stateless Rhythms, Transnational Steps: Embodying the Assyrian Nation through Sheikhani Song and Dance,” it appears in the latest edition of the Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales (35, 3 & 4, 2019) and looks at the close connection between expressive culture and ethnic identity in the Assyrian line dance and song genre sheikhani in the performance context of a community twice made transnational – first in the homeland, second in diaspora.


Nil Basdurak received an “honorable mention” for the 2019 Charles Seeger Prize, recognising the most distinguished student paper presented at the SEM Annual Meeting. Her paper was titled “The Little Buskers of Istanbul: Ethico-political Soundscape of Children’s Street Labour.” Following on from Emily Wang’s success in the Seeger Prize last year, and the other prizes won by our students, it attests to the outstanding quality of our doctoral candidates. Congratulations Nil!


Massive congratulations (again!) to Yun Emily Wang, who has accepted a tenure-stream position in Ethnomusicology at Duke University! She takes up the post in 2020 on completion of her current postdoctoral fellowship at Columbia University.


Congratulations to Yun Emily Wang (PhD 2018), currently Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Music at Columbia University, for winning the 2018 Charles Seeger Prize of the Society for Ethnomusicology. (Read an interview with Emily on the SEM website.) The Seeger Prize recognises  the most distinguished student paper presented at the (2017) SEM Annual Meeting. She won for her paper “Shopping and Chopping: Sound, Diasporic Intimacy, and Everyday Movements in Chinese Toronto. The paper was also awarded the Clara Henderson Prize of the SEM Dance, Movement, and Gesture Section, and the Martin Hatch Award from the Society for Asian Music, both representing the best graduate paper relevant to their respective fields. Emily hits for the cycle!


After almost 30 years, many of them as the lone ethnomusicologist at the U of T, Jim Kippen has followed his wife Annette Sanger in retiring from active duty. In late March 2019, colleagues Josh, Jeff, and Farzi mounted a Symposium (“The Jymposium”) featuring several of Jim’s colleagues in Indian music studies — notably Allyn Miner (U Penn) and Max Katz (William & Mary) — and former students including Rob Simms, Margaret Walker, Lowell Lybarger, and Ameera Nimjee. A memorable concert followed with Jim (tabla) accompanying Allyn (sitar), Rob Simms (Kurdish tanbur), Ameera (kathak dance), Jim & Annette’s Balinese gendèr ensemble Seka Rat Nadi, and Josh’s band The Bols with their amazing Beatle covers.


Congratulations to Meghan Forsyth (PhD 2011), who is now Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Memorial University, Newfoundland. She was also the recipient of the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2017. Her current research explores intradiasporic transnationalism and secular pilgrimage in the context of the pentennial Congrès mondial acadien (Acadian World Congress), as well as the social history of instrumental music of les Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec. She is co-author with Dr. Ursula Kelly of The Music of Our Burnished Axes: Songs and Stories of the Woods Workers of Newfoundland and Labrador (ISER Books, 2018).


Congratulations to Ameera Nimjee (BMus 2009, MA 2011), who on finishing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago landed a tenure-stream position at the University of Puget Sound. Her research explores how performers of South Asian music and dance traditions navigate creative economies, as they encounter issues of citizenship, religion, race, and gender. Articles-in-progress include studies on the place of song in the migration of South Asian Muslims through East and South Africa, and the creative processes of Bollywood choreographers.


Congratulations to Hamidreza Salehyar for winning the Student Prize from the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, which recognises an outstanding paper presented at their annual conference (2017). Hamidreza won for the paper “Beyond Resistance and Subordination: The Paradox of Popular Music in Shi’ite Rituals in Post-Revolutionary Iran.” Hamidreza, sweeping up, was also awarded the Society for Ethnomusicology Religion, Music and Sound Section’s Student Prize for his 2018 paper presented at the 2018 Annual SEM Conference, “Ritual, Martyrdom, and Shia-Iranian Nationalism in the Islamic Republic of Iran.”


At the recent Society for Ethnomusicology conference, Alia O’Brien was awarded the 2017 Wong Tolbert Prize from the SEM Section on the Status of Women, which recognizes the most distinguished paper dealing with women and music involving a deep engagement with social theory, for her paper “al-Batin, al-Wali, al-Zahir: Regimes of Silence and Voicing in Muslim Toronto.” Congratulations Alia!


Congratulations to Katie Young (MA 2014), now a PhD candidate at Royal Holloway, University of London, for winning the 2018 Student Prize from the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, which recognises an outstanding paper presented at their annual conference. She won for her paper “’If You Know Arabic, Indian Songs Are Easy For You’: Hindi Film Songs and the mawlid in Tamale, Northern Ghana.” Well done, Katie, we miss you and are thrilled to see you thriving.


Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology Josh Pilzer was featured on the program discussing his work with comfort women survivors on November 30, 2018. You can hear the interview here. Josh’s segment starts at about the 40 minute mark.


Polina Dessiatnitchenko defended her dissertation “Musical and Ontological Possibilities of Mugham Creativity in pre-Soviet, Soviet, and post-Soviet Azerbaijan” in May 2017. After another year of research in Baku, Polina took up a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. She has also become a highly accomplished performer on the tar. She has also created a wonderful website about her work, along with many audio and video performances. Many, many congratulations Polina — we are immensely proud of you!


Congratulations to Gabby Jiménez (and her supervisor Jeff Packman) for successfully completing and defending a superb doctoral dissertation: “Versioning Mexico City: Musical Performances, Gender, Sexuality, and the Musical Production of Place.” Since graduating, she has been busy pursuing other research and writing, and has just published an article with the online Sound Studies Blog called Sounding Out! Her piece “Voices at Work: Listening to and for Elsewhere at Public Gatherings in Toronto, Canada (at So-called 150” examines the voices directed at decolonial efforts at some public gatherings — rallies, protests, marches, and memorials — in Toronto between March 2016 and June 2017.