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Research Fellow, Music and Politics, University of Cambridge

Ross Cole is a musicologist and Fellow of Homerton College Cambridge. His research attends to the relationship between music and politics during the ‘long’ 20th century, with an emphasis on representation and the question of utopia. His work focuses on music’s significance at moments of profound change, whether the 1960s, the fin de siècle, or the present.

His writing appears in leading international journals including ASAP/Journal, Ethnomusicology, Popular Music, and the Journal of the Royal Musical Association. Under contract with University of California Press, his book The Folk: Music, Modernity, and the Political Imagination traces a new genealogy of vernacular song from 1870 to 1930, and beyond this to the contemporary alt-right. It follows an insistent set of disputes surrounding the practice of collecting, ideas of racial belonging, and the pre-history of European fascism. A volume entitled Remixing Music Studies, edited with Matthew Pritchard, Ananay Aguilar, and Eric Clarke, is forthcoming with Routledge.

Ross received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2015, funded by the AHRC. Prior to this, he studied at the University of York and the University of Oxford, where he was awarded the Gibbs Prize. Before taking up a highly competitive Junior Research Fellowship in 2017 he spent a year as a Lecturer at Cambridge and received the Faculty of Music’s Teaching Prize.


  • 2017–present
    Research Fellow, University of Cambridge