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Melissa J. Scott

I teach and study topics in music and sound in Arab-majority societies. My dissertation examines the reach and limitations of humanitarian governance for music-making in Jordan. My undergraduate honors thesis at the University of Chicago focused on the history of jazz in Turkey. I am also an oudist and perform with Disoriental at UC Berkeley and Awtar Amman in Jordan.

My fieldwork research is supported by a Fulbright-Hays DDRA and an ACOR-CAORC Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. During the 2017-18 academic year, I was a CASA fellow at the American University in Cairo, where I studied Arabic literature and Egyptian dialect while pursuing an internship at a local music center. I have also studied Arabic in Oman (CLS), Jordan (FLAS), and California.


Levantine and Gulf music, anthropology of humanitarianism, critical refugee studies, secularism and secularity, theories of place and place-making, sound and violence, gift-exchange, late Ottoman studies