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Congratulations to Dr. Marceline Saibou!


We warmly congratulate Dr. Marceline Saibou, who successfully defended her PhD dissertation on popular music in Togo on Friday, May 13, 2016.   Dr. Saibou's dissertation was sponsored by Prof. Aaron Fox, and her committee included Profs. Alessandra Ciucci and George Lewis (Music, Columbia), and distinguished Columbia ethnomusicology alumni Prof. Ryan Skinner (Music and African Studies, OSU) and Prof. Andrew Eisenberg (Music, NYU Abu Dhabi). 

Congratulations Dr. Saibou! 

Photo from left to right: G. Lewis, A. Ciucci, M. Saibou, A. Fox

Dr. Nili Belkind Appointed as Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Illinois!

Dr. Nili Belkind

The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates Dr. Nili Belkind, a 2014 alumna of the Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD Program, who has been awarded a two-year Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities-Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the Humanities, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Belkind's Columbia dissertation is entitled Music in conflict: Palestine, Israel, and the politics of aesthetic production.  It was sponsored (advised) by Prof. Christopher Washburne.   The dissertation is an ethnographic study of the fraught and complicated cultural politics of music making in Israel-Palestine in the context of the post-Oslo era, a time of highly polarized sentiments and general retreat from the expressive modes of relationality that accompanied the 1990s peace process. In it, she examines the politics of sound and the ways in which music making and attached discourses reflect and constitute identities, and also, contextualize political action. Ethical and aesthetic positions that shape contemporary artistic production in Israel-Palestine are informed by profound imbalances of power between the State (Israel), the stateless (Palestinians of the oPt), the complex positioning of Israel’s Palestinian minority, and contingent exposure to ongoing political violence.

Congratulations Nili!

Alessandra Ciucci appointed Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology

Prof. Alessandra Ciucci
Alessandra Ciucci will join the Department of Music as Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology on July 1, 2015.

Alessandra Ciucci received her PhD in music (Ethnomusicology) from The City University of New York at The Graduate Center. She was a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Music at Columbia in 2008-10, and is also an undergraduate alumna of the Department of Music at Columbia with a BA from Columbia's School of General Studies.

CU Ethno Alum Prof. Adriana Helbig Publishes "Hip Hop Ukraine"

Prof. Adriana Helbig

Prof. Adriana Helbig

The Center for Ethnomusicology congratulates Adriana N. HelbigAssociate Professor of Music at The University of Pittsburgh, and a 2005 alumna of the Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD program, on the publication of her book Hip Hop Ukraine: Music, Race, and African Migration (2014, Indiana University Press). 


Hip Hop Ukraine
Book Description:
 In Hip Hop Ukraine, Prof. Helbig enters a world of urban music and dance competitions, hip hop parties, and recording studio culture to explore unique sites of interracial encounters among African students, African immigrants, and local populations in eastern Ukraine. Adriana N. Helbig combines ethnographic research with music, media, and policy analysis to examine how localized forms of hip hop create social and political spaces where an interracial youth culture can speak to issues of human rights and racial equality. She maps the complex trajectories of musical influence—African, Soviet, American—to show how hip hop has become a site of social protest in post-socialist society and a vehicle for social change."


Biography: Prof. Adriana Helbig is Associate Professor of Music and an affiliated faculty member in Cultural Studies, Women's Studies, Global Studies, and the Center for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She teaches courses on global hip-hop, world music, music, gender, and sexuality, music and technology, and cultural policy. She is also founder and director of the Carpathian Music Ensemble, a student performance group that specializes in the music of Eastern Europe, including Jewish klezmer and Gypsy music. Her research has been funded through grants and research fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, American Councils for International Education, IREX, and Fulbright. She has held a research fellowship at the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC and was an inaugural research fellow at the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Her articles on Romani (Gypsy) music, postsocialist cultural policy, music and piracy, music, race, and migration, and global hip-hop have appeared in edited collections and journals such as The Yearbook for Traditional Music, Current Musicology, and Popular Music. She is the coauthor, with Oksana Buranbaeva and Vanja Mladineo, of The Culture and Customs of Ukraine (Greenwood Press, 2009). 

Prof. Helbig completed her Columbia PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2005, with a dissertation entitled "Play for Me, Old Gypsy”: Music as Political Resource in the Romani Rights Movement in Ukraine, advised by Prof. Ana Maria Ochoa.

Prof. Helbig's Personal Website

Prof. Helbig's Faculty Page at the University of Pittsburgh.

Order Hip Hop Ukraine on Amazon.com

Other ordering options available through The University of Indiana Press.

Congratulations to Dr. Melissa Gonzalez!


The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates Dr. Melissa Gonzalezwho successfully defended her PhD dissertation on September 17, 2014.  Dr. Gonzalez is also an alumna of the Barnard College music major.  Her dissertation, advised by Prof. Christopher Washburne,  is entitled: "Cien por Ciento Nacional!" Panamanian Musica Tipica and the Quest for National and Territorial Sovereignty."  

Dissertation Abstract:  "In this dissertation, I investigate the socio-cultural and musical transfigurations of a rural-identified musical genre known as musica tipica as it engages with the dynamics of Panama's rural/urban divide and the country's nascent engagement with the global political economy. Though regarded as emblematic of Panama's national folklore, musica tipica is also the basis for the country's principal and most commercially successful popular music style known by the same name. The primary concern of this project is to examine how and why this particular genre continues to undergo simultaneous processes of folklorization and commercialization. As an unresolved genre of music, I argue that musica tipica can offer rich insight into the politics of working out individual and national Panamanian identities.   

Based on fourteen months of ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Panama City and several rural communities in the country's interior, I examine the social struggles that subtend the emergence of musica tipica's genre variations within local, national, and transnational contexts. Through close ethnographic analysis of particular case studies, this work explores how musicians, fans, and the country's political and economic structures constitute divisions in regards to generic labeling and how differing fields of musical circulation and meaning are imagined."

Congratulations to Dr. Gonzalez!

Congratulations to Dr. Nili Belkind!

Dr. Nili BelkindThe Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates Dr. Nili Belkind, who defended her dissertation on May 8, 2014.  Dr. Belkind's dissertation is entitled Music in conflict: Palestine, Israel, and the politics of aesthetic production.  It was sponsored (advised) by Prof. Christopher Washburne. 

Dr. Belkind's dissertation is an ethnographic study of the fraught and complicated cultural politics of music making in Israel-Palestine in the context of the post-Oslo era, a time of highly polarized sentiments and general retreat from the expressive modes of relationality that accompanied the 1990s peace process. In it, she examines the politics of sound and the ways in which music making and attached discourses reflect and constitute identities, and also, contextualize political action. Ethical and aesthetic positions that shape contemporary artistic production in Israel-Palestine are informed by profound imbalances of power between the State (Israel), the stateless (Palestinians of the oPt), the complex positioning of Israel’s Palestinian minority, and contingent exposure to ongoing political violence.



Dr. Jessica Schwartz Appointed Assistant Professor of Musicology at UCLA!

Dr. Jessica Schwartz

The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates Dr. Jessica Schwartz, currently completing her two year term as a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Department, who has been appointed Assistant Professor of Musicology at The University of California, Los Angeles!

Dr. Schwartz holds the PhD in Ethnomusicology from New York University, where she completed a dissertation entitled:  "Resonances of the Atomic Age: Hearing the Nuclear Legacy in the United States and the Marshall Islands, 1945-2010," advised by Prof. Jairo Moreno.  She has published articles in, among other places,  Transactions of the Royal Historical Society,Women and Music, and Music&Politics.  Dr. Schwartz is also the founder of  the Marshallese Educational Initiative, Inc., a not-for-profit organization dedicated to expanding educational opportunities for Marshallese and raising awareness of Marshallese issues.

Lauren Flood Wins Whiting Dissertation Fellowship!

Lauren E. Flood

Lauren Flood (Ethnomusicology) has been awarded a dissertation completion fellowship for 2014-15 from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation. The title of her dissertation is "Building and Becoming: DIY Music Technology in New York and Berlin," and it is sponsored by Prof. Ana Maria Ochoa.








Dr. Toby King Appointed Assistant Professor of Music at UNC/Asheville!

Jonathan "Toby" King

The Center for Ethnomusicology warmly congratulates
Dr. Jonathan "Toby" King (PhD, Ethnomusicology, 2014), who has been appointed Assistant Professor of Music at The University of North Carolina at Asheville!  Dr. King's dissertation is entitled "Implications of Contemporary Bluegrass Music Performance at and around a New York City Jam Session," and it is sponsored by Prof. Aaron Fox. Dr. King defended his dissertation on June 2, 2014.  We congratulate him for that as well!

Congratulations to CU Ethno Students!

Hearty congratulations are in order for a number of Columbia Ethnomusicology students:

First, three students are now alumni!  We congratulate Andrew Eisenberg, Morgan Luker, and Ryan Skinner, each of whom has successfully defended his dissertation.  

We also congratulate Tyler Bickford, winner of a Columbia University Whiting Fellowship.

Congratulations to Farzaneh Hemmasi, who has won a dissertation fellowship for 2009-10 from the Middle East Institute. 

Congratulations to Sara Snyder, who has won a summer research fellowship from the Institute for Religion, Culture, and Public Life. 

Congratulations to Anna Stirr, who has accepted a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford University.

And finally, congratulations to Daphne Carr, who got a fellowship form The Harriman Institute at Columbia University.
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