Sue Tuohy

Sue Tuohy

Senior Lecturer Emerita, Folklore and Ethnomusicology


  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 1998

Research interests

  • ethnomusicology
  • film and music
  • intellectual history
  • music and socio-political transformation
  • music and culture in contemporary China
  • East Asia

About Sue Tuohy

While trained in East Asian studies generally, my own research focuses on Chinese culture and on the ways in which musical performance, discourse, and institutions articulate, and articulate with, central issues in contemporary China. Among the theoretical issues I address through the study of expressive culture are processes of social transformation such as nationalism and other forms of human affiliation as well as scholarly and political discourse. My approach relies on data gained through first-hand field research but extends to a wide range of media in which the performing arts play a central role, including mass-mediated electronic forms such as television and video; print discourse such as scholarship and political writing; and live mass forms such as social-political movements and tourism. Focusing particularly on post 1978 China, I have also attended to similar processes found throughout the twentieth century such as social and political mobilization through film and music in the 1920s-1940s. In my study of Chinese society, I not only have relied extensively on the Chinese-language scholarship as secondary sources but also have analyzed that literature as a form of cultural discourse that has had consequences for the organization and conduct of social life in the Peoples Republic of China.

Courses recently taught

  • Music in Social Movements
  • Advanced Seminar
  • Cultural Diversity in China
  • Theory and Method in Ethnomusicology
  • Chinese Film & Music
  • Fieldwork Ethnomusicology
  • East Asian Music & Culture

Awards & Distinctions

  • IU Trustee Teaching Award (2009, 2004, 2001)
  • IU Teaching Excellence Recognition Award (1997)
  • IU-Nankai University Faculty Exchange Research Fellowship (1995)
  • Travel Grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, for research in China (1993)