Paula Harper

Postdoctoral Fellow in Musicology
Ph.D. from Columbia University
research interests:
  • Music and sound and the internet, music and media, gender, circulation, fandom
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    Paula Clare Harper currently holds an appointment as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, where she teaches courses on American popular music, listening in digital culture, and women in music videos. She received her PhD in Historical Musicology from Columbia University in 2019; her dissertation is entitled “Unmute This: Sound, Circulation, and Sociality in the Rise of Viral Media.” 

    Dr. Harper’s research centers around music and sound and the internet, with focuses on issues of circulation, sharing, sociality and social media, fandom, gender, and representation. She has presented on topics ranging from Beyoncé, to Taylor Swift, to internet musical practices, at conferences across the country and internationally. Her work has been published in the journals Popular Music and SocietySound StudiesCurrent Musicology, and The Soundtrack, as well as in a forthcoming issue of American Music, for which she is serving as co-editor. She is currently at work on a book project, based on her dissertation, entitled Viral Musicking and the Rise of Noisy Platforms.

    At present, Dr. Harper is one of the co-organizers of the digital colloquium Music Scholarship at a Distance, a virtual forum for music studies convened in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Beyond campus, the library, and the classroom, Dr. Harper bakes sourdough, dotes on her cats, and sings as a soprano and choral musician around St. Louis and New York City.