Folklore & Ethnomusicology

The Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at Indiana University is a world-renowned center for the integrative study of human expressive culture, at home and abroad, in the past and the present. The only department to combine the disciplines of folklore and ethnomusicology, we offer a unique education in three interrelated areas: humanistic inquiry and analysis, artistic performance and presentation, and public engagement. Empowered to critically question, act, and communicate, our students are prepared to succeed as globally aware citizens in a world of increasing political complexity and environmental uncertainty.

Situated at the crossroads of the humanities and the social sciences, our faculty teach fieldwork-based ethnographic and archival methods in order to document, analyze, and interpret expressive cultural forms and practices across the world. That endeavor is not merely to document the diversity of human experience, but rather, to respond to the increasingly global circulation of people, goods, and ideas. We aim to acquire vital expertise in diverse world areas, and to mobilize humanities-based inquiry as a transformative force for the public good.

The work of our faculty and students spans the globe and reaches across time to, for example, contemplate the future impacts of new digital technologies or to reassess the meaning of ancient mythologies. At all levels, we train students to both make sense of the human world and to engage with it actively as globally aware citizens.

Our diverse course offerings provide methodological, theoretical, historical, and practical instruction, as well as introductions to the world’s cultural diversity and to the broad range of human expression, including music, visual art, material culture, verbal art, cultural performance, and cosmological and mythological systems. The department offers numerous joint degree programs and is home to a rich mixture of archives, public art programs, and publication initiatives, all of which provide tremendous opportunities for students to learn outside of the classroom.

One department, two institutes

Interested in learning about our degree programs?