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Reader in Ethnomusicology, Royal Holloway University of London

Anna Morcom studied Ethnomusicology and Hindi at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) (1993-1996), and then a PhD on Hindi film songs (SOAS) (1998-2002). She subsequently completed extended fieldwork in Tibet under a Leverhulme Study Abroad Studentship. She joined the Royal Holloway Music Department as a Research Council UK Academic Fellow in 2005, where she is now a Senior Lecturer.

Anna Morcom specialises in music and dance in India and Tibet from diverse and ethnographically-grounded perspectives that seek to understand modernity and the contemporary world and the implication on people and musical cultures of the changes they bring. This encompasses traditional music (folk and classical) and popular music. Her research focuses on phases of modernity ranging from nation building to globalization and neoliberalism and spans issues of politics, ideology and inequality as well as media and marketisation.

Her work includes three monographs, "Unity and discord: Music and politics in contemporary Tibet" (2004, Tibet Information network); "Hindi film songs and the cinema" (2007, Ashgate, SOAS Musicology Series); and "Illicit worlds of Indian dance: Cultures of exclusion" (2013 Hurst and Oxford University Press). This was published in South Asia as "Courtesans, bar girls and dancing boys: Illicit worlds of Indian dance" (2014, Hachette India). She has published articles in a range of peer-reviewed journals such as "Consumption, Markets and Culture" and "South Asian Film and Media". She guest-edited a special issue of Ethnomusicology Forum on "Screened music: Global perspectives" in 2009 with Miguel Mera.

"Illicit worlds of Indian dance" was awarded the Allan Merriam prize, the Society of Ethnomusicology’s (SEM) book award, as well as the Marcia Herndon prize of the Gender and Sexualities section of SEM, in 2014. She is a member of the British Forum of Ethnomusicology (BFE) Committee and of the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) Council. Her current research focuses on music, economy, exchange and capitalism, growing from her 2013-14 Leverhulme Research Fellowship, "Neoliberalism and the transformations of musical culture in Tibet and beyond". She is the founder and current chair of SEM’s Special Interest Group on Economic Ethnomusicology.


  • –present
    Lecturer of Music, Royal Holloway