Rebecca Dirksen

Rebecca Dirksen

Laura Boulton Professor

Associate Professor, Folklore and Ethnomusicology

Director of Graduate Studies



  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2012
  • M.A., University of Roehampton, London, 2006
  • B.M., Lawrence University and Conservatory of Music, 2003

Research interests

  • Haiti, Caribbean, Latin America
  • ecomusicology, diverse environmentalisms, sacred ecologies, environmental justice
  • carnival, protest, revolution, politically engaged music
  • creative responses to crisis, disaster, poverty, violence, trauma
  • development discourse, grassroots development
  • arts activism and international NGOs, aid, and humanitarianism
  • intangible cultural heritage and cultural policy
  • archives, archival silences, hidden archives and accidental archivists
  • Haitian classical/art music
  • film as ethnography
  • applied/engaged/activist ethnomusicology

Courses recently taught

  • Applied Ethnomusicology (grad seminar)
  • Ecomusicology (grad seminar)
  • Filmmaking as Ethnography (grad seminar)
  • Fieldwork in Ethnomusicology (grad seminar)
  • Music and Disaster
  • Music and Development
  • Caribbean Carnival
  • Caribbean Music, Sacred Ecologies, and the Environment
  • Making Films: Music and Folklore

Selected awards & distinctions

  • Honourable Mention for the International Council for Traditional Music Book Prize for After the Dance, the Drums Are Heavy, 2021
  • Interdisciplinary Fellow at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, 2020-2021
  • Indiana University Trustees Teaching Award, 2019
  • Humanities Without Walls The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate Grand Research Challenge: “Field to Media: Applied Musicology for a Changing Climate,” 2018-2020. With Mark Pedelty, PI (University of Minnesota); co-PIs Rebecca Dirksen (Indiana University) and Michael Silvers (University of Illinois)
  • Radcliffe Fellow 2016-17 at the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University
  • American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Fellowship, 2016-2017 (declined)
  • IU Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning / Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Active Learning Grant, 2015
  • Plaque d’honneur « pour son dévouement à l’avancement de la musique
    haïtienne », Conseil d’administration de la Banque de la République d’Haïti, January 2014