Music Faculty

Rachel Mundy

Faculty member Rachel Mundy

Rachel Mundy

Associate professor in musicd

Rachel Mundy is an Associate Professor of Music in the Arts, Culture, & Media program at Rutgers University in Newark. She specializes in twentieth-century sonic culture with interests at the juncture of music, the history of science, and animal studies. Her work shows how music has been used to navigate changing boundaries between race, species, and culture during a century of social and ecological crisis.

Rachel’s work has been cited as initiating an “animal turn” in music studies. She has published widely and given invited talks for audiences at institutions including Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Eastman, and Lincoln Center.

Rachel locates herself within a broad movement in the arts and sciences towards new ideas about human identity, nature, and culture in an era of social and ecological crisis. Her classes explore sound in the history of science, animals and posthumanism, Newark’s soundscapes, and Western traditions in a global context. Rachel is also a licensed teacher of the Japanese traditional flute or shakuhachi, which she has played and performed since 2001.


BA in music, Wesleyan University 2000

MM in music history, Hartt School of Music, 2003

PhD in music studies, New York University 2010

Research Interests

Animal studies; history of science and technology; sound studies; environmental history; race, animals, and representations of difference in Western art music; music and humanism in the twenty-first century; honkyoku

Recent Courses

Music, Culture, and Technology

Inhumanities: a graduate seminar in music, literature, and American studies

Advanced Topics in Music Theory

Survey of Music History to 1750

Survey of Music History after 1750

Introduction to Music

Recent Invited Lectures

            Harvard University, Mahindra Humanities Center (roundtable) (Nov. 2021)

            Keynote, University of Cambridge, UK, Winged Geographies (April 2021)

            Princeton University, Music-Science Borderlands (roundtable) May 2021

            Berlin Live Talk Series, Universität der Künste Berlin (Feb. 2021)

            University of Toronto, Moving Animals and Climate Change (Nov. 2020)

University of Michigan Society of Fellows (Apr. 2020)

            Columbia University, Seminar on Human-Animal Studies (February 2020)

            University of California, Berkeley (February 2020)

Selected Awards & Distinctions

National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow (2022)

Board of Trustees Research Fellowship for Scholarly Excellence Award, Rutgers University (2020)

University of Maastricht, Invited Visiting Scholar in Technology and Society Studies (2012, 2013)

Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Music, Columbia University (2010-2012)

Jun-shihan license in Japanese shakuhachi music

–jun shihan certificate in shakuhachi

Books in progress

Paradise: Hearing Beyond Humanism  [scholarly monograph on sound, gender, and stories of environmental apocalypse from the 1970s to the present].

Laura Boulton, The Music Hunter: Songs and Identity 1920-1950 [comic-book inspired digital biography of song collector Laura Boulton].

Representative essays and articles:

“Humane Treatment, Sound Experiments” in The Science-Music Borderlands, ed. Deirdre Loughridge, Psyche Loui, Elizabeth Margulis, MIT Press (in production, projected 2022).

“Life, Death, and Humanistic Comparison,” Ethnomusicology Review, 22:2 (winter 2020): 85-92.

“Why Listen to Animals?,” blog post published simultaneously in the blog of the American Musicological Society (Musicology Now) and of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. October 2018.

“Museums of Sound: Audio Bird Guides and the Pleasures of Knowledge,” Sound Studies, 1 (2016): 52-68.

 “Evolutionary Categories and Musical Style from Adler to America” Journal of the American Musicological Society 67, no. 3 (fall 2014): 735-768.

“The “League of Jewish Composers” and American Music,” The Musical Quarterly 96, no. 1 (Spring 2013): 50-99.

“Birdsong and the Image of Evolution,” Society and Animals 17, No. 3 (2009): 206-223.

Manuscript book review:

Indiana University Press

Oxford University Press

W.W. Norton & Company

Manuscript article review:

Cinema Studies

Frontiers in Psychology


Journal of the American Musicological Society

Journal of the Society of American Music

Nineteenth Century Music

Twentieth-Century Music

Yale Journal of Music and Religion

[ Music ]Pictured: Wayne Winborne

Wayne Winborne

Wayne Winborne is executive director of the Institute of Jazz Studies (IJS) at Rutgers University-Newark, the largest and most comprehensive…

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[ Music ]Pictured: Stefon Harris

Stefon Harris

Musician…Educator…Developer…Thought Leader Stefon Harris’ passionate artistry and astonishing virtuosity have propelled him to the forefront of the jazz scene. In…

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[ Music ]Photo of Samantha Bassler

Samantha Bassler

Samantha Bassler (she/her) has taught music history at RU-Newark since 2012. Educated at Nyack College, Merton College of the University…

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[ Music ]Pictured: a portrait photo of Dr. Kate Doyle

Kate Doyle

Kate Doyle is Assistant Professor of Music in the Department of Arts, Culture & Media and Affiliate Faculty in the…

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[ Music ]Faculty Member Brian Harlow

Brian Harlow

Brian Preston Harlow serves as Director of the Rutgers University Chorus, Newark Campus, the Director of the Apprentice Chorus and…

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[ Music ]Faculy member, Leighann Narum

Leighann Narum

Leighann Narum teaches classical guitar in applied studies at Rutgers University-Newark. Ms. Narum has performed in Merkin Concert Hall in…

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