Associate professor of practice
Sean Nye, associate professor of practice in musicology, teaches courses on music, modernity and popular culture, including signature courses on electronic dance music and hip-hop for USC’s general education offerings. He received his doctoral degree in comparative studies in discourse and society from the University of Minnesota with research focused on techno, Kraftwerk and German electronic music since the 1960s. Here, he received the Best Dissertation Award in the Art and Humanities. After joining the USC Thornton School of Music as a provost’s postdoctoral scholar in the humanities, Sean Nye designed USC’s first course on electronic dance music.
Beyond electronic music, hip-hop and dance culture, Nye’s research ranges from intersections of science fiction and music to exile communities in Los Angeles (1930s-1950s). Most recently, he published a book with Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Global Series focusing on Modeselektor, a popular duo from Berlin. His articles, translations and reviews have appeared in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Popular Music Studies and Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture. He also has chapters in edited collections ranging from Music in Television: Channels of Listening (Routledge, 2011) to Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor (Berghahn, 2019).
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
- Electronic music
- Science fiction
- Hip-hop studies
- Music and literature
- Film and TV music/sound
- German Studies
- Exile studies
- Modeselektor’s Happy Birthday! (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2022).
- “Listening in the Waiting Room: Feuchtwanger on the Acoustics of Exile,” in Feuchtwanger and Judaism: History, Imagination, Exile, ed. Paul Lerner and Frank Stern (Bern: Peter Lang, 2019): 215-45.
- “Sprockets + Autobahn: Kraftwerk Parodies, German Electronic Music, and Retro Dreams in Amerika,” in Dreams of Germany: Musical Imaginaries from the Concert Hall to the Dance Floor, ed. Neil Gregor and Thomas Irvine (New York: Berghahn, 2019): 271-94.
- “Von Electric Cafe zu Techno Pop: Versuch einer Kritik eingefahrener Rezeptionsmuster,” in Mensch – Maschinen – Musik: Das Gesamtkunstwerk Kraftwerk, ed. Uwe Schütte (Düsseldorf: C.W. Leske, 2018): 140-56.
- “Von ‚Berlin Minimal‘ zu ‚Maximal EDM‘. Genrediskurse zwischen Deutschland und den USA,” in Techno Studies: Ästhetik und Geschichte elektronischer Tanzmusik, ed. Kim Feser and Matthias Pasdzierny (Berlin: B_Books, 2016): 121-35.
- “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.