CSAS Scholarly Lecture Series: "The Voice in the Drum": South Asian Ethnography and Creative Writing
Richard K. Wolf, Professor of Music and South Asian Studies at Harvard University, has been conducting ethnomusicological research on the musical traditions of South Asia for more than thirty years. His books and articles consider musical and social issues of language, emotion, poetics, time, space and religious experience. Wolf is also an internationally recognized performer on the vi?a, a stringed instrument used in South Indian classical music. In recent years his field investigations have expanded from South Asia to Central and West Asia, where he is currently conducting field research on issues of music and language among the Wakhi people of adjacent parts of Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and western China. Wolf’s first book, The Black Cow's Footprint: Time, Space, and Music in the Lives of the Kotas of South India (Permanent Black 2005 and University of Illinois Press 2006), received the Edward Cameron Dimock, Jr. Prize in the Humanities. His second single authored book, The Voice in the Drum: Music, Language and Emotion in Islamicate South Asia (University of Illinois Press, Oct 2014), is a hybrid ethnomusicological study written in the form of a novel. Also active as an editor, Wolf is General Editor of Ethnomusicology Translations, an online publication of the Society for Ethnomusicology and has published Theorizing the Local: Music, Practice, and Experience in South Asia and Beyond (Oxford 2009), The Bison and the Horn: Indigeneity, Performance and the State of India (A special issue of Asian Ethnology 2014), and is coediting a volume on the cross cultural study of rhythm.
Richard Wolf has been the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, The American Council of Learned Societies, The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Social Science Research Council, and multiple fellowships from The American Institute of Indian Studies, The American Institute of Pakistan Studies and the Fulbright Scholar Program. He has been a visiting professor at l’École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris and at the Institut für Ethnologie at University of Munich. In 2012, for a lifetime of scholarly achivements, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation presented him with the Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award. This has enabled Wolf and the German anthropologist Frank Heidemann to continue their collaborative work—currently a project entitled, “Sound Meets Sight Across the Disciplines."
Richard Wolf, Department of Music, Harvard University