Sean Nye

Assistant Professor of Practice

  • Program:
  • Division:
    Scholarly and Professional Studies
  • Expertise:
    Electronic Music, Science Fiction, Sound Studies


Sean Nye, Assistant Professor of Practice in Musicology, teaches courses on music, modernity, and popular culture, including featured courses on electronic dance music and hip-hop. In 2013, Nye received his PhD in Comparative Studies in Discourse and Society from the University of Minnesota (Best Dissertation Award in the Art and Humanities). After joining Thornton as a Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities, Nye designed USC’s first course on electronic dance music. Beyond popular music, his research ranges from German exile communities in Los Angeles (1930s-1950s) to sound studies and the history of Apple. His articles, translations, and reviews have appeared in edited collections and academic journals, including Journal of Popular Music Studies, Cultural Critique, and New Literary History.

Currently, Professor Nye is developing his dissertation, Teutonic Time-Slip: Travels in Electronic Music, Technology, and German Identity, 1968-2009, into a book manuscript and conducting research on music and sound in the science fiction writings of Philip K. Dick.

Professional experience

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

  • Fulbright Fellowship, 2003-2004
  • Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Graduate Fellowship, 2008-2009
  • Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies, Fellowship, 2009-2010
  • University of Minnesota, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship, 2010-2011
  • Best Dissertation in the Arts and Humanities, University of Minnesota, 2014

Research Interests:

  • Electronic music
  • Science fiction
  • Cultural musicology and sound studies
  • Film and TV music/sound
  • German studies
  • Theodor W. Adorno
  • Philip K. Dick


“The Love Parade: European Techno, the EDM Festival, and the Tragedy in Duisburg” (co-authored with Ronald Hitzler), in The Pop Festival: History, Music, Media, Culture, ed. George McKay (London: Bloomsbury, 2015): 115-28.

Hartmut Esslinger,” in Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 5, ed. R. Daniel Wadhwani (Washington DC: German Historical Institute, 2015).

“Minimal Understandings: The Berlin Decade, The Minimal Continuum, and Debates on the Legacy of German Techno,” Journal of Popular Music Studies 25, no. 2(2013): 154-84.

“What is Teutonic? An Update on the German Question,” in Böse, Macht, Musik: Zur Ästhetik des Bösen in der Musik, ed. Katharina Wisotzki and Sara R. Falke (Bielefeld: Transcript 2012): 113-30.

“Headphone-Headset-Jetset: DJ Culture, Mobility and Science Fictions of Listening,” Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture 3, no. 1 (2011): 45-77.

“Where is Duisburg? An LP Postscript,” with Ronald Hitzler, Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture 2, no. 1. Special Issue: The Ruhr Valley Love Parade (2011).

“From Punk to the Musical: South Park, Music, and the Cartoon Format,” in Music In Television: Channels of Listening, ed. James Deaville (London: Routledge, 2011): 143-64.

“Love Parade, Please Not Again: A Berlin Cultural History.” Echo: A Music-Centered Journal. University of California, Los Angeles (Fall 2009): online.