Music of Southeast Asia; Sundanese Performing Arts; Gamelan; Wayang Golek Puppet Theater; Music and Cultural Theory; Popular Music.
Indonesia is a major focus of my research, particularly the musical, narrative, and theatrical practices of Sundanese people in West Java. In my first book Power Plays, I wrote about the art of Sundanese rod-puppet theater wayang golek and its adjustment to political pressures and economic opportunities in a rapidly modernizing society. Several digital media projects grew out of this work including a cd-rom that accompanies Power Plays and a 6-cd recording of one wayang golek performance.
During the last decade, my research has expanded well beyond the region of West Java. In 2003, I began to explore a genre of Indonesian national popular music called dangdut. Dangdut Stories is a social and musical history of the genre within a range of broader narratives about class, gender, ethnicity and nation in post-independence Indonesia (1945-present). The book traces the history of dangdut from a denigrated form of urban popular music to a prominent role in Indonesian cultural politics and the commercial music industry. As the founder and lead singer of the Pittsburgh-based Dangdut Cowboys, I aim to bring this joyous dance music to audiences outside its home base.
My interest in music as a force for social change is reflected in a book I co-edited with Bell Yung entitled Music and Cultural Rights. Cultural rights have become increasingly prominent in discourses of human rights, international law, and struggles for social justice throughout the world. Music and Cultural Rights investigates how music has become an integral part of the languages, cultures, and social institutions of rights in diverse societies around the world.
A second edited volume of essays entitled Islam and Popular Culture in Indonesia and Malaysia shed light on the popular culture of Islam, an element that is often hidden from view in mainstream American media. Given the fact that Indonesia and Malaysia are home to about 20 percent of all Muslims, and Indonesia is the largest majority Muslim country in the world, this book will hopefully dispel notions that Islam is monolithic, militaristic, and primarily Middle Eastern.
New on-going projects include collaborations with scholars and institutions in Uganda and the Netherlands. In Uganda, I am working with scholars, musicians, and policy makers in Uganda to repatriate historical sound recordings to their place of origin in Uganda. Sound repatriation is not a simple matter of returning what was once taken away, but rather a process that demands attention to cultural, ethical, and legal issues . In the Netherlands, under the auspices of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), I am conducting research on the history of Indonesian popular music (1950-1970) as part of the working group "Articulating Modernity: The Making of Popular Music in 20th Century Southeast Asia."
After receiving an M.A. from the University of Hawai‘i (1990) and a PhD from UC Berkeley (1997), I joined the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh in Fall 1997. I regularly offer graduate courses on the theories, methods, and history of ethnomusicology as well as the study of popular music and music and cultural theory. I am particularly proud of my record mentoring graduate students. At the undergraduate level, I teach courses in world music, music of Southeast Asia, the Beatles, and gamelan. As director of Pitt's highly successful gamelan program, I developed an artist-in-residence program for Indonesian artists, and a consortium of American universities that offers rare opportunities to study with some of Indonesia's finest artists.
- Introduction to Ethnomusicology
- Field and Lab Methods
- Advanced Methods in Cultural Theory and Musical Practice
- The Study of Popular Music
- Music and Communication
- Music and Postcolonialsm
- An Introduction to Music Cultures of the World
- Music of Southeast Asia
- Gamelan Ensemble
- The Beatles
“Indonesia: Meet the Beatles!: Sound, Style, and Meaning in Indonesian Popular Music.” In Routledge Handbook on Asian Music: Cultural Intersections, ed. Tong Soon Lee [forthcoming, 2020].
"Soundtracks for the Masses: Transmediating India in Dangdut Films of Indonesia." In Making Waves: Traveling Musics in Asia and the Pacific, Ed. Christine Yano and Frederick Lau. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2018: 39-64.
“Nation, Islam, and Gender in Dangdut, Indonesia’s Most Popular Music.” In The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Indonesia, Ed. Robert W. Hefner. New York: Routledge Press, 2018: 369-377.
“Re-vamping Asia: Women, Music, and Modernity in Comparative Perspective.” (co-author with Bart Barendregt). In Vamping the Stage: Female Voices of Asian Modernities, Ed. Andrew N. Weintraub and Bart Barendregt. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press, 2017:1-39.
Vamping the Stage: Female Voices of Asian Modernities (co-editor with Bart Barendregt). Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2017.
"Titiek Puspa: Gendered Modernity in Indonesia of the 1960s and 1970s." In Vamping the Stage: Female Voices of Asian Modernities. Ed. Andrew N. Weintraub and Bart Barendregt. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2017: 144-173.
“Decentering Ethnomusicology: Indonesian Popular Music Studies.” In Producing Indonesia: The State of the Field of Indonesian Studies, Ed. Eric Tagliacozzo. Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2014:347-366.
“Pop Goes Melayu: Indonesian Popular Music, 1968-1975.” In Sonic Modernities in the Malay World: A History of Popular Music, Social Distinction and Novel Lifestyles (1930s-2000s). ed. Bart Barendregt. Leiden: Brill Press, 2014:165-186.
“The Sound and Spectacle of Dangdut Koplo: Genre and Counter-Genre in East Java, Indonesia.” Asian Music 44(2), 2013:160-194.
“The Audible Future: Reimagining the Role of Sound Archives and Sound Repatriation in Uganda.” [co-author with Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza]. Ethnomusicology 56(2), 2012: 206-233.
Islam and Popular Culture in Indonesia and Malaysia (editor). London and New York: Routledge, 2011.
Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia’s Most Popular Music. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Music and Cultural Rights (co-editor with Bell Yung). Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2009.
“Indonesian Wooden Puppet Theater of West Java, the Amir Hamzah Stories and the Localization of Islam.” In Interweaving Cultures: Islam in Southeast Asia: A Guide for Teachers and Students. New York: Asia Society, 2007.
“Dangdut Soul: Who are ‘The People’ in Indonesian Popular Music?” Asian Journal of Communication 16(4), 2006:411-31. Reprinted in Mark Hobart & Richard Fox (eds.) Entertainment Media in Indonesia. New York: Routledge, 2008.
Power Plays: Wayang Golek Puppet Theater of West Java. Athens, Ohio and Singapore: Ohio University Press/Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2004.
“Instruments of Power: ‘Multi-Laras’ Gamelan in New Order Indonesia.” Ethnomusicology 45(2), 2001:197-227.
“Tune, Text, and the Function of Lagu in Pantun Sunda, a Sundanese Oral Narrative Tradition,” Asian Music 26(1), 1994/95:175-211.
“Jawaiian and Local Cultural Identity in Hawai‘i.” Perfect Beat: The Journal of Research Into Contemporary Music and Popular Culture 1(2), 1993:78-89. Reprinted in Sound Alliances: Indigenous Peoples, Cultural Politics and Popular Music in the Pacific, ed. Philip Hayward. London and New York: Cassell, 1998:78-88.
Henry Luce Foundation Research Grant for the project “Critical Dimensions of Music and Collective Memory of 1965-66.” American Institute for Indonesian Studies, June/July, 2019.
The Society for Ethnomusicology, elected board member, 2013-2015.
Global Academic Partnership Award for the Conference “Voices of Asian Modernities,” University of Pittsburgh, April 4-6, 2014.
Visiting Fellow, Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), for the project “Articulating Modernity: The Making of Popular Music in 20th Century Southeast Asia,” July/August, 2012.
Fulbright Specialists Grant in Anthropology, for the Development of an Ethnomusicology Program at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda, June 2011 and July/August 2010.
Fulbright Senior Scholar Award for the project “Dangdut Stories: A Social and Musical History of Indonesia’s Most Popular Music,” 2006-07.
Ford Foundation Grant (co-director) for the Workshop, Conference, and Dissemination of Research for the project “Cultural Rights and Academic Responsibility: Politics and Economics in the Globalization of Music,” 2003-2006.
Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, 1994-1995.
Charles Seeger Prize, 1991.
Education & Training
- PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1997