Instructor of Music History
Ph.D., New York University
M.A., University of California-Riverside
B.A., Dickinson College
Eric Martin Usner studied with Philip V. Bohlman in Vienna, with Philip Brett, Deborah Wong, Rene ́ T.A. Lysloff and Marta Savigliano in Riverside, California, and with Gage Averill (among many others) in New York City. While in New York, Eric worked as a sound archivist, field worker, and videographer at the Center for Traditional Music and Dance [www.ctmd.org] and spent three years as guest faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. In addition to seminars in music, at SLC he co-led community-collaborative experiential education trips to Western Nicaragua. He spent two formative post-baccalaureate years studying and researching in Vienna on a Fulbright. His later fieldwork and research on cultures of classical music in Vienna was supported by an International Dissertation Research Fellowship from the Social Science Research Council and an NYU Dean’s Dissertation Grant. Before coming to West Chester in the fall of 2012, his most recent academic post was as Postdoctoral Fellow in Ethnomusicology at The University of Chicago. He has offered courses on the cultural and ethnographic study of music at UC-Riverside, NYU, Sarah Lawrence, the University of Vienna, and The University of Chicago.
Eric has presented work at national and international conferences, among them the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for American Music, the Society of Dance History Scholars, the International Association for Popular Music Studies, the Experience Music Project Conference, Austrian Studies, and the International Council for Traditional Music. He has published on swing dance, applied ethnomusicology and community service learning, and classical music in Vienna. Eric has had an active sideline as a translator of German, working for the Milken Archive of Jewish Music, the Niederösterreichische Tonkunstler Orchester, among other private commissions for books, biographies, and liner notes.
His current scholarly projects include a piece on the ethics of academic and intellectual praxis, an epistemological critique of musicology using the analytic of critical whiteness studies, an ethnohistorical investigation of amateur baseball in the early 20th century rural Pennsylvania, and an ethnographic look at PA Germn auction subculture. He is working on his first monograph, tentatively titled Classical Musics, Cosmopolitanisms, and the New Vienna.
An advocate of service in its varied forms, within the Society for Ethnomusicology, Eric has served as a co-chair of the Student Concerns Committee, as the Vice President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the SEM, and as member and chair of the Committee for Professional Development. Within the ICTM, he was a founding officer of the Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology and co-organized its first biennial meetings. While in Chicago, he worked within Southside communities on racial and food justice initiatives and has offered adult continuing education courses on the politics of food, immigration and social justice, and this fall, Bruce Springsteen.
“From Skeptic to Convert, from (short term) Service to (long term) Witness: Assessing Impacts of International Service Trips” Good Works in Central America? A Guide to Reflection and Praxis for International Volunteers. Katey Borland, Abigal Adams, eds. Palgrave Press. Forthcoming.
“The Condition of Mozart: Uses of Music and Culture in Vienna’s Mozart Year.” Ethnomusicology Forum. 20 (3)1-33, 2011.
“(U.S.) Ethnomusicology and the Engaged University in the New Century.” Historical and Emerging Approaches to Applied Ethnomusicology.Svanibor Pettan, et. al., eds. Cambridge Scholars’ Press. 2010.
“Dancing in the Past, Living in the Present: Race and Nostalgia in Southern California Neo-Swing Dance Subculture.” Dance Research Journal 33(2): 87-111, 2001.
“Musikwissenschaft and Cosmopolitanism: Roots and Routes of Western Musicologies.” Negotiating the ‘West’ Music(ologic)ally. Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands. 2011.
“The Rise and Decline of Music in the Starbucks Experience.” Symposium Keynote, “Mobilities.” University of Chicago. 2009.
“Critical Whiteness Studies and Musikwissenschaft.” Music Department Colloquium Series, University of Chicago. 2009.
“Is Mozart White?: Critical Whiteness Studies and the Musicologies.” Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture, University of Chicago. 2009.
“Branding Hipness: Music, Race and Marketing Starbucks.” Colloquium Series, Institute of Ethnology Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. 2007.
“’Klassische’ Music als kulturelle Praxis im Wien: (Ethnographische) Begegnung und Bedeutungen.” Colloquium Series, University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna, Austria. 2007
Selected Conference Presentations
“Praxes of Engagement: Re-imagining Applied Ethnomusicology for the 21st Century.“ Panel Organizer/Chair. “With Brett Pyper (South Africa), Adriana Helbig (USA), Carol Muller (USA). Presented: “Across the Midway: Engaging Ethnomusicology on the South Side of Chicago.” 40th World Congress of the International Council for Traditional Music, Durban, South Africa. 2009
“Displacing the ‘Western’ in Western Art Music.” Panel Organizer/Chair. With Suzi Wint and Yara El-Ghadban, Su Zheng, respondent. Presented: “Maintaining the Center: Western Art Music as a Viennese Cultural Practice.” 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Middleton, CT. 2008
Engaged Ethnomusicologies: Pedagogies and Practices of Community-Based Learning and Research.” Panel Organizer/Chair. With Carol Muller (USA), Elizabeth MacKinlay (Australia), Samuel Araujo (Brazil), Regine Allgayer-Kaufman (Austria). Presented: “North American (Applied) Ethnomusicology and the Engaged University in the New Century.” 1st Meeting of the Study Group on Applied Ethnomusicology, International Council for Traditional Music, Ljubljana, Slovenia. 2008.
“Music, Technology and the Politics of the Popular in the Urban Soundscape.” Panel Organizer/Chair. With Mojca Piskor (Croatia), Maja Marty (Slovenia), Irena Miholic (Croatia). Presented: “Managing Mozart: Uses of Musical Culture in Vienna’s Mozart Year.” 39th World Congress of the International Council for Traditional Music, Vienna, Austria.2007
“’But that’s not ethnomusicology!’ The Ethnomusicology of Classical Music in Vienna.” Fellows’ Workshop, Social Science Research Council. Portland, OR. 2006.
“Towards a Pedagogy of Witnessing: Ethnomusicology, Service Learning and Social Justice." Musicology Society of Australia, Sydney, Australia. 2005.
“’Live More Musically’: The Seductive Sounds of Starbucks’ Siren Songs.” Experience Music Project, 4th Conference on Popular Music, Seattle, WA.2005.
"Towards a Pedagogy of Witnessing: Ethnomusicology, Service Learning and Social Justice." 48th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Tucson, AZ.2004
“Music and Race in Early 20th Century Vienna: Viennese Jews and the Creation of Modern Viennese Identity.” 47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Miami, FL. 2003
“Ethnomusicology as a Political Act: An Ethnomusicology of Nicaraguan Song as Social Justice Work.” 23rd Annual Meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of The Society for Ethnomusicology, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ. 2003.
“Scoring America: Viennese Jews and the ‘Classic Hollywood Film Score.’” Continuities and Discontinuities in the Austrian 20th Century, University of Edinburgh. 2003.
“Nostalgia for the Melting Pot: Vernacular Discourse on Race in Southern California Neo-Swing Dance Subculture.” Annual Meeting of the Society for American Music, Louisville, KY. 2002.
“Dancing in the Past, Living in the Present: Race and Nostalgia in Southern California Neo-Swing Dance Subculture.” Annual Meeting of the Society for Dance History Scholars, Towson, MD. 2001.
“In the Virtual Field: Ethnography and Internet Communities.” 43rd Annual Meeting of the Society forEthnomusicology, Austin, TX. 1999.
“Nostalgia in Neo-Swing Culture.” Annual Meeting of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music-United States, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. 30.9.-02.10.1999.