Ian MacMillen

Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology

Hall of Music 115

As Whitman's first ethnomusicologist, Ian MacMillen teaches a wide variety of musical topics from around the world. In the 2015-2016 academic year he is offering the courses Music 220: Roma, "Gypsies," and Musical Imagination, Music 115: Introduction to World Music, and Music 218: Music of the Balkans and the Middle East, as well as a yearlong Balkan Ensemble (Music 245/246). He has previously taught at Oberlin College and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

His primary research focuses on musical affect and the sonic materiality of racial encounter. Playing It Dangerously, his current book-length project in this area, focuses on the racialized and affective nature of interethnic and transnational relations forged through popular and traditional tambura chordophone music in multiethnic communities of post-conflict Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia. His research on this topic has been funded by an ACLS Dissertation Research Fellowship in East European Studies, a Research Grant from the Asociation for Recorded Sound Collections, and Oberlin College Powers Travel Grants, 

Secondary interests include musical fascination and tourism in Bulgaria and other parts of Southeast Europe; intersections of theories of light with conceptions of "local color" in 19th-century German and Croatian national musics; musical connections and contact between Africa and the African Diaspora (e.g. an exhibition at Oberlin's Allen Memorial Art Museum on ritual and performance in the broader Yoruba world, an exhibition in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music on Yoruba percussion instruments curated with the class Music and Ritual, and a film project on North African Qur'anic recitation practices in an African American/African immigrant mosque in Philadelphia); and the use of American jazz and rock 'n' roll in Soviet political animated film, a project for which he and his research partner (art historian Masha Kowell) received Penn's Provost Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation. His work appears or is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed journals EthnomusicologyCurrent MusicologyYearbook for Traditional MusicBulgarian MusicologyFilm and History, and Balkanistica, as well as in the Hrvatski Tamburaški Brevijar (Croatian Tambura Breviary). He also is a founding editor of the East European Folklife Center's online journal Forum Folkloristika.

B.A. in Music Theory - Pomona College (2005)
Ph.D. in The Anthropology of Music (Ethnomusicology) - The University of Pennsylvania (2012)