Jane Sugarman

Sugarman faculty photo

Research Interests

  • Southeastern Europe, social and cultural theory, gender and sexuality, diaspora and migration, nationalism, conflict and post-conflict zones


  • Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles, 1993

Jane Sugarman is an ethnomusicologist whose research has focused on the roles played by musical practices in processes of identity formation, with particular attention to communities in and from Southeastern Europe and the Middle East. In addition to extensive research on the relationship of musical practices to gender and sexuality, she has also written on issues of modernity and globalization, diaspora, nationalism, and conflict and post-conflict situations.   Her 1997 book Engendering Song: Singing and Subjectivity at Prespa Albanian Weddings, analyzes the elaborate, multiday wedding celebrations of a diasporic community, and the singing that dominates the activities, as sites for the negotiation of community notions of gendered identity.  In 1998 it was awarded the Chicago Folklore Prize, presented by the American Folklore Society and the University of Chicago.  In 2004 a second study related to issues of gender and sexuality, “Those ‘Other Women’: Dance and Femininity among Prespa Albanians,” was awarded the Jaap Kunst Prize by the Society for Ethnomusicology as the most significant article of the year.  More recently, she has examined the roles played by rural singing, as well as practices of folk song collection, in the development of the Albanian nationalist movement; and the participation of Albanian commercial music productions in the Kosova War of 1998-99.

Sugarman’s current book project examines the production of “mediated musics” by Albanians in the former Yugoslavia over a fifty-year period, based on field research conducted in Kosova, Macedonia, Germany, Switzerland, and the United States.  Her study begins with production within state institutions during the socialist period, and continues with the development of a transnational private music industry after 1990.  Through the lens of postcolonial theory, it traces the rise of a succession of folk and popular genres as responses to the subordinate position of Albanians under both Yugoslav and United Nations governance.  

Sugarman came to the Graduate Center in 2008 after eighteen years at Stony Brook University, where she was affiliated with the programs in Cultural Studies and Women's Studies and received the President's and Chancellor's Awards for Excellence in Teaching.  At the Graduate Center she is affiliated with the Center for the Study of Women and Society (CSWS) and the Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC).  

Awards and Grants

  • National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, 2005-06.
  • Jaap Kunst Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology, 2004.
  • American Council of Learned Societies Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1998-99.

Professional Affiliations and Memberships

  • Society for Ethnomusicology
  • International Council for Traditional Music

Courses Taught

  • Research Techniques in Ethnomusicology  
  • (Ethno)musicology and Social Theory
  • Music, Gender, and Sexuality
  • Music and Mobilities
  • Music, Politics, and Society in Southeast Europe
  • Reading Musical Ethnographies
  • Dissertation Proposal Workshop
  • Teaching Proseminar in Music (team-taught)


  • “Theories of Gender and Sexuality:  From the Village to the Anthropocene.”  In Theory for Ethnomusicology:  Histories, Conversations, Insights, ed. Harris M. Berger and Ruth M. Stone, 71-98.  New York:  Routledge, 2019.
  • “Nexhmije Pagarusha, Radio Prishtina, and the Discourse of Cultivation in Socialist Kosova.”  Proceedings of the fourth symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Music and Dance in Southeastern Europe, Valjevo, Serbia, September 2014, edited by Liz Mellish, Nick Green, and Mirjana Zakic, 303-310.  Beograd:  Colograf.
  • “'Kosova Calls for Peace: Song, Myth, and War in an Age of Global Media,” in Music and Conflict: Ethnomusicological Perspectives, ed. John O'Connell and Salwa el-Shawan Castelo-Branco, 17-45. Urbana: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2010.
  • “Building and Teaching Theory in Ethnomusicology:  A Response to Rice.” Ethnomusicology 54(2) (2010):344-47.
  •  “Albania.” Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, v. 7, ed. John Shepherd, David Horn, and Dave Laing, 93-98.  London: Continuum Books, 2005.
  •  “ ‘The Criminals of Albanian Music’: Albanian Commercial Folk Music and Issues of Identity since 1990,” in Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene: Music, Image, and Regional Political Discourse, ed. Donna A. Buchanan, 269-307.  Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2007.
  • “The Prespa Wedding and Emigration, 1980-2006.”/”Dasma prespare dhe kurbeti (1980-2006),” in Prespa, Immigration-Repatriation, ed. Ali Aliu et al., 42-46.  Skopje, Macedonia: Prespa United Us, 2006.
  • “Inter-Ethnic Borrowing and Musical Modernity in 'Balkan' Popular Musics Past and Present,” in Urban Music in the Balkans: Drop-Out Ethnic Identities or a Historical Case of Tolerance and Global Thinking?, ed. Sokol Shupo, 64-75.  Tirana, Albania: Documentation and Communication Center for Regional Music, 2006.
  • “Diasporic Dialogues: Mediated Musics and the Albanian Transnation,” in Identity and the Arts in Diaspora Communities, ed. Thomas Turino and James Lea, 21-38.  Warren, MI: Harmonie Park Press, 2004.
  • “Those ‘Other Women’: Dance and Femininity among Prespa Albanians.” in Music and Gender: Perspectives from the Mediterranean, ed. Tullia Magrini, 87-118.  Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2003.
  • “Albania II: Traditional Music.” New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., v. , 285-89. London: Macmillan, 2001.
  • “Yugoslavia: III. 3. Traditional Music: Kosovo and Related Albanian Music Traditions.” New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed., v. 27, 693-94. London: Macmillan, 2001.
  • “Albanian Music.” Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, v. 8, 986-1006.  New York: Garland, 2000.
  • “Mediated Albanian Musics and the Imagining of Modernity,” in New Countries, Old Sounds? Cultural Identity and Social Changes in Southeastern Europe, ed. Bruno B. Reuer, 134-54. Munich: Verlag Südostdeutsches Kulturwerk, 1999.
  • “Imagining the Homeland: Poetry, Songs, and the Discourses of Albanian Nationalism.” Ethnomusicology 43(3) (Fall 1999), 419-58.
  • “The Nightingale and the Partridge: Singing and Gender among Prespa Albanians.” Ethnomusicology 33(2) (Spring-Summer 1989), 191-215. Revised version published in Women’s Voices across Musical Worlds, ed. Jane A. Bernstein, 261-84. Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press, 2003.
  • “ ‘Making Muabet’: The Social Basis of Singing among Prespa Albanian Men.” Selected Reports in Ethnomusicology 7 (1988), 1-42.