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Integrative Studies

(formerly Critical Studies/Experimental Practices)

Drawing on a wide range of academic fields, including critical and cultural theory, ethnomusicology, music cognition, new media studies, sound studies, and ecocriticism, among others, the IS program combines an exploration of contemporary music making with an examination of ideas and concepts that are relevant to its nature, creation, production, and reception. Exposure to a range of disciplines and interdisciplinary methods prepares students to pursue innovative scholarship and creative work.

IS graduate students initially enroll in introductory courses taught by core faculty members designed to present intersecting ways of researching sound, music, and culture, and which are designed to generate possibilities for future independent and collaborative research. In subsequent quarters students choose between a variety of focused and revolving topic seminars. Recent seminars have included Sounding Sex, Race, and Gender; Post-Colonial Hermeneutics; Music, Sound, and Biopolitics; Reading Ethnomusicology; Theorizing Radio and Musical Identities; Critical Historiography; Music and Affect; Proseminar in Creative Practice; Scholarly Writing for Publication; and Arts of the Archive. Seminars offered in other departments—for instance, in visual arts, literature, theatre and dance, anthropology, communication, ethnic studies, cognitive science, psychology, or computer science—are encouraged and may fulfill degree requirements, if approved by a student’s faculty adviser.

The integrative studies program embraces multiple ways of knowing and encourages cross-fertilization and hybridity between diverse disciplines and musical forms. Faculty and students in integrative studies produce work that moves fluidly between scholarship, performance, improvisation, sound installation, composition, instrument building, and more. The program teaches students to situate knowledge and practices from local to global communities, and to produce compelling scholarly writing and creative work that recognizes the responsibilities and opportunities associated with living in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.