Denise Elif Gill
Campus Box 1032
Please note that Dr. Gill is ON LEAVE in Fall 2016 (ACLS Fellowship) and will return to campus in January 2017.
Denise Elif Gill is an ethnomusicologist whose work focuses on the musical and cultural practices of Turkey and the land and seas formally under Ottoman control, with particular attention to the multiple dialogic processes that arise in the intersections of music-making and affective practice. Her research is foundationally grounded in careful consideration of sound and listening in relation to power and privilege, gender and sexualities, Islam, spirituality, health, disability, memory, and social justice.
Her work draws on four years of ethnographic research in Turkey funded by multiple grants including Fulbright (2007-2008, 2008-2009). She is a winner of the Ki Mantle Hood Award from the Society of Ethnomusicology (2007) and a Sakip Sabancı International Research Award (2008).
Dr. Gill was awarded an ACLS Fellowship (2015-2016) to conduct ethnographic fieldwork for her second book project, which is a study of distinct listening structures attuned to the sounds of death, loss, and migratory thresholds.
Her first book, Melancholic Modalities: Affect and Turkish Classical Musicians is forthcoming in 2017 (Oxford University Press). The book interrogates normative assumptions about melancholy through present-day musicians who champion, teach, and perform Turkish classical music, a genre substantially rooted in the musics of the Ottoman court and elite Mevlevi Sufi lodges. Typically dismissed as the remnants of Ottoman nostalgia, the melancholies intentionally cultivated by contemporary Turkish classical musicians emerge as reparative, pleasurable, and spiritually redeeming. “Melancholic Modalities” explicates the diverse terms, sonic repertoires, narrative play, improvised gestures, and embodied practices of Turkish classical musicians who deploy and circulate melancholy in sound. More broadly, the book intervenes in current debates in ethnomusicology about the role of affect in musical practice, and offers new, innovative methodologies of rhizomatic analysis and bi-aurality for researchers.
Dr. Gill has served as the chair of the Medical Ethnomusicology special interest group of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM), and as a SEM Council Member (2013-2016).
A scholar-teacher deeply invested in critical pedagogies, Dr. Gill was the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Academic Senate (2010) and an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graduate Students Association (2007) at UCSB, where she also served as co-coordinator for the transdisciplinary Feminist Pedagogy Series.
As a kanun (Middle Eastern trapezoidal zither) player committed to the study of Ottoman-Turkish Classical, Islamic, and Mevlevi music traditions, Dr. Gill has performed on radio and television programs and in concert halls in Turkey, the United States, and in multiple cities in Europe. She has served as a clinician for several Near or Middle East Ensembles in the U.S. As a fiddler, Dr. Gill has founded participatory music ensembles related to American vernacular music traditions (especially Old Time and Bluegrass musics). She continues to perform nationally as a solo recitalist with kanun and voice, and is active in Muslim interfaith and social justice advocacy in the greater St. Louis area.
Musics of the World (Music 1021 // African and African American Studies 1277)
Islam, Music, and Muslim Media Practices (Music // JINELC 3585)
Music and Healing (Music 3031 // Anthropology 3832)
Music Ethnography and Fieldwork Methodologies (Music 5091 // Anthropology 5192)
Critical Listening (to be offered Spring 2017)