Faculty

Scott Spencer

Part-time Lecturer in Musicology

  • Program:
    Musicology
  • Division:
    Scholarly and Professional Studies


Trained in Ethnomusicology, Scott Spencer investigates the musical intersections of oral tradition and digital technology. Much of his work has been through the lens of Irish traditional music, though his publications have also looked to American balladry and sonic design in museums.

Spencer received his PhD in Ethnomusicology from New York University in 2010 and went on to serve as the Irish American Cultural Institute’s Visiting Research Fellow in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has taught interdisciplinary undergraduate and graduate courses at Trinity College Dublin, and at Rensselaer Polytechnic, Drew and Villanova universities. Before moving to Los Angeles, he served as Mellon Regional Faculty Fellow for the Penn Humanities Forum at the University of Pennsylvania.

His background in oral history archives – including those at New York University and the City University of New York – brought him to a position at the USC Shoah Foundation, where he runs the Preserving the Legacy initiative.

Spencer’s recent publications include The Ballad Collectors of North America (Editor), chapters in books representing a variety of fields, and articles in the Journal of the Society for American Music and Explorations in Media Ecology.


Professional experience

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Mellon Regional Faculty Fellow, Penn Humanities Forum, University of Pennsylvania, 2012-2013.
  • Irish American Cultural Institute’s Visiting Research Fellow in Irish Studies at the National University of Ireland, Galway, 2010-2011.

Publications:

  • The Ballad Collectors of North America: How Gathering Folksongs Transformed Academic Thought and American Identity (Editor). Lanham: Scarecrow Press, 2011.
  • “Transatlantic Migrations of Irish Music in the Early Recording Age.” The Irish in the Atlantic World. David Gleeson, Editor. University of South Carolina Press, 2010: 53-75.
  • “Wheels of the World: How Recordings of Irish Traditional Music Bridged the Gap Between Homeland and Diaspora.” Journal of the Society for American Music 4:4(2010): 437-449.
  • “Traditional Irish Music in the 21st Century: Networks, Technology and the Negotiation of Tradition.” Performing at the Crossroads: Critical Essays on Performance Studies and Irish Culture. Sara Brady and Fintan Walsh, Editors. Dublin: Palgrave, 2009: 58-70.
  • “Soundscapes and Representation in the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center.” Explorations in Media Ecology. 6:4 (2007): 17-29.