Center for

Musical Humanities

A Constellation
of Interests

The Center for Musical Humanities is dedicated to advancing the interests of music and the humanities across the whole of UCLA, engaging its faculty, students, and surrounding communities in a series of events that will bring together scholarship, performance, and outreach.

The mission of the center is to foster the study of music within an interdisciplinary context by bringing together scholars and students in a variety of disciplines from around the nation and world to collaborate with scholars and students at UCLA and its associated communities, and to create an effective and vibrant face for the Herb Alpert School of Music by fostering public musical events inspired by its scholarly ventures, featuring faculty and students from across the school.

Conceived along the lines of other centers on campus—that is, dedicated to a constellation of interests shared across disciplines, and serving the needs of faculty, students, and larger community—the Center for Musical Humanities will provide support for a number of different kinds of events, including conferences, concerts informed by scholarship and other arts, or other collaborative ventures that include both scholarly and musical components. The Center is administered and funded by the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, but works closely with the Division of Humanities and other academic units on Campus; faculty on its Advisory Board are drawn from all three Arts schools, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

Upcoming Event: Hear + Việt + Film: a Symposium on Trans-Vietnamese Music in Film

A series of online and in-person events, Spring and Fall 2022

Questions? Please contact us at and

Projected to take place at UCLA in Fall 2022, Hear + Việt + Film: a Symposium on Trans-Vietnamese Music in Film will be a two-day event bringing together scholars, film makers, and composers for a critical reassessment of music in Vietnamese film. Featuring lecture panels, film screenings, and Q&A sessions, the event seeks to bridge transnational as well as transdisciplinary perspectives on this global medium. It also seeks to raise public awareness of Vietnamese film as a site of translation that mediates between Vietnamese and diasporic contexts, a project that involves ongoing negotiations between languages, histories, and genres. The symposium also highlights the ways in which hearing the transnational contexts of Vietnamese film music requires listening for the presence of queer positionalities, both on and off screen. By evoking these complex entanglements between local and global contexts, Hear + Việt + Film will reevaluate film music in a trans-Vietnamese context.


Symposium Organizers:
Damjan Rakonjac – Ph.D. Candidate in Musicology and graduate student in ELTS, UCLA
Holley Replogle-Wong – Academic Administrator, Department of Musicology, UCLA

Call For Papers: Nostalgia, Music and Music Studies

A Conference of Online Events, Spring 2022

Questions? Please contact us at

Although forever inaccessible, the past tempts us precisely because it seems fixed and immovable. As David Lowenthal elucidates “…we feel quite sure that the past really happened, that its traces and memories reflect irrefutable scenes and acts. The flimsy future may never arrive; man or nature may destroy all; time may terminate. But the securely tangible past is seemingly fixed, indelible, unalterable.” One of the primary ways individuals and communities engage with the past is through nostalgia. As Svetlana Boym reminds us:

…nostalgia goes beyond individual psychology. At first glance, nostalgia is a longing for a place, but actually it is a yearning for a different time – the time of our childhood, the slower rhythms of our dreams. In a broader sense, nostalgia is a rebellion against the modern idea of time, the time of history and progress. The nostalgic desires to obliterate history and turn it into a private or collective mythology, to revisit time like space, refusing to surrender to the irreversibility of time that plagues the human condition.

Boym’s work has proven to be foundational for nostalgia studies, creating a theoretical framework that moves across several disciplines. This conference aims to bring Boym’s work and nostalgia studies more broadly into conversation with music and music studies. As a theoretical framework, nostalgia studies allows us to explore attitudes towards the past underlying both musicology and music composition/performance. It illuminates the ways nostalgia is used by creators and audiences, as well as the ways it affects and influences our perceptions of history, heritage, self and other. Guided by the work of Boym and others on nostalgia types (restorative vs reflective, individual vs. collective memory), this conference aims to bring scholars and artists together to deepen our understanding of nostalgia’s powerful presence in music and music making.

We are especially interested in: 1) how creators (composers and performers) engage with nostalgia and/in music; 2) how listeners’ engagement with music from the past can be shaped by nostalgia; and 3) how theoretical work on nostalgia can illuminate existing topics of interest in musicology, such as revivals, historicity and canonization.

Potential Topics include:
– Nostalgia in Pop Culture
– Medievalism
– Questions of Heritage and the darker side of Nostalgia (e.g., MAGA politics and music; Music and white supremacy)
– Nostalgic futurism
– Revivals (Folk revivals, Early music revivals)
– Covers / Tribute groups / etc.
– Nostalgia and Play
– Nostalgia, Music and other media (film, musicals, video games, etc.)
– Nostalgia politics
– Nostalgia & Music Therapy
– Canonization and Nostalgia
– Surface noise, old recordings, and the construction of meaning in popular retrospectivity.
– The “long ago” sonics of film sound.
– Nostalgia double-ironized: notes on camp and the past.
– Operatic aftertimes.
– Musics in exile.
– Symbolist aesthetics and the magic of pastness.

We invite submissions from artists and scholars at any stage of their careers, including graduate students, as well as individuals working outside of academia. We will accept proposals for a range of presentation formats, including (but not limited to) individual paper, themed panels, and lecture demonstrations. Proposals for presentations that combine scholarship and musical performance are especially encouraged.

Proposals should be no longer than 500 words in length and submitted to by December 20, 2021.

Conference Organizers
Elizabeth Randell Upton – UCLA Faculty Sponsor, Department of Musicology
Caitlin Vaughn Carlos (PhD UCLA 2021); University of Redlands, School of Music

The Indo-Persian Musical Confluence Welcomes Attendees From Across the Globe
The School of Music’s Department of Ethnomusicology held eight virtual panels and performances as part of “The Indo-Persian Musical Confluence” series November 2020 – May 2021. This attracted participants from across the globe, including Europe, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Canada and numerous regions within the United States.
The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Announces Fall 2019 Season
Grammy-nominated saxophonist Chris Potter, and jazz vocalist Fay Victor, are just two of the artists who will be part of the music school’s Fall 2019 season.
Daily Bruin – Ethnomusicology Professor Katherine In-Young Lee to Explain Samul Nori in Upcoming Symposia
READ: Katherine In-Young Lee, assistant professor of ethnomusicology, organized the event "Global Musics and Musical Communities," which explored how and why specific musical genres travel outside their countries of origin and lead to the formation of new musical communities.