The Ethnomusicology program is part of the School of Music in the College of Arts at Kent State University. We offer a Master of Arts in Ethnomusicology, as well as a minor in World Music open to undergraduate students of any major.  Students in these programs participate in world music ensembles and classroom activities that include peers in ethnomusicology as well as a variety of other related disciplines.

The Master of Arts in ethnomusicology allows for in-depth study of current and/or historical cultural research. Emphasis on a particular nonwestern historical period, style or continent leads to both breadth and depth of research skills. The curriculum aims to prepare students for graduate study at the doctoral level, as well as careers in public/private arts programs. Students receiving assistantships will gain experience as classroom lecturers, music ensemble directors, online instructors, multi-media producers, and/or archival assistants. Exceptional students will be considered for internships at local area arts programs, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The undergraduate World Music minor exposes students to broad regional studies, as well as popular music and culture. The minor enhances major areas of study, such as music education, anthropology, dance and theatre, international business, and area studies, including Asian, Pan-African, etc.  The minor also prepares students interested in further study in ethnomusicology graduate programs and is open to any major across campus.

Faculty in Ethnomusicology

Jennifer Johnstone holds a Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology (2012) and an M.A. in ethnomusicology (2007) from Kent State University. Dr. Johnstone’s research interests include cognitive semiotics, cultural identity, Welsh choral traditions, and U.S. immigrant history. She remains active in presenting her work at national and international conferences, and has published in a variety of peer-reviewed publications, including The Journal of the Polynesian Society and The Journal of Band Research.

Eve McPherson holds a Ph.D in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and a master's degree in ethnomusicology from Tufts University. Additionally, Dr. McPherson earned a master's degree in vocal performance from UCSB.  Her areas of research interest include Islamic recitation, Turkish classical music, vocal timbre, and contemporary American opera.

Kazadi wa Mukuna is a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire) and Professor of Ethnomusicology at Kent State University. Professor Kazadi received his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil. Two of his most current research projects are "A Dictionary of Urban Music and Musicians in the Democratic Republic of Congo" and "The Evolution of the Urban Music of the Democratic Republic of Congo".

Denise Seachrist is Interim Dean and Chief Administrative Officer at KSU Stark. She holds the rank of Associate Professor at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. Seachrist received her Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology from Kent State University, and a Master of Music in vocal performance from Youngstown State University. Considered a specialist in the music of both historical and living German religious communities in Pennsylvania, Seachrist serves on the board of the Communal Studies Association. She is a member of the editorial board for Pennsylvania-German History and Culture book series published by Penn State Press. She is the author of The Musical World of Halim El-Dabh (2003) and Snow Hill: In the Shadows of the Ephrata Cloister (2010).

Andrew Shahriari earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Kent State University in 2001. He has published three books, Khon Muang Music and Dance Traditions of North Thailand (2007), Popular World Music (2010), and World Music: A Global Journey  (2006, 3e 2012), co-authored with Kent State Professor Emeritus, Terry E. Miller. Dr. Shahriari is currently an Assistant Professor at Kent State University and Coordinator of Online Programs for Music. His primary areas of research interest include music of mainland Southeast Asia, East Asia, popular world music, rock music history, music and spirituality, as well as music therapy and autism.

Janine Tiffe received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Florida State University, and is an assistant professor at the Kent State University School of Music. She co-directs the KSU African Ensemble and KSU Steel Band. Dr. Tiffe has performed with Women in Steel and Invaders Steel Orchestra; as a member of Azaguno, she performed for the 2002 FIFA World Cup ceremonies in Seoul, Korea. Her research interests include the African diaspora, particularly the Trinidadian steel band, as well as musical migration, transmission, pedagogy, and education. She has authored articles in Percussive Notes, and Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century, and Double Voicing and Multiplex Identities: Unpacking Hegemonic and Subaltern Discourses in the Caribbean. She is an active member of The Society for Ethnomusicology, Delta Omicron, and Percussive Arts Society.

Affiliated Faculty

Priwan Nanongkham, born in Thailand, is an adjunct professor of ethnomusicology and director of the Kent State University Thai Ensemble. Nanongkham received his Ph.D. in musicology-ethnomusicology from Kent State University in 2011. Although considered a Thai music specialist, his primary area of interest covers all music of mainland Southeast Asia, as well as East Asia, and South Asia. Other research interests include Asian-American music; Asian religious traditions; Westernization and modernization, and globalization as reflected in traditional, neo-traditional, and popular music.

Sunmin Yoon is an adjunct professor of ethnomusicology at Kent State University, concentrating on general world music surveys and the music of Asia. A native of South Korea, she earned her Ph.D in ethnomusicology from University of Maryland at College Park (2011). She specializes in Mongolian folk songs, with a focus on the long-song (urtyn duu) genre. Her research deals with the role of music and musicians in relation to political change in socialist/post-socialist/postcolonial socio-cultural contexts.  Her further research interests are in music and geography, and analytical studies on the usage of voice and lyrics. She is a classically trained pianist, and studied music theory as well as musicology in Korea.