ASU School of Music welcomes expert in intellectual property law, music of Middle East, Central Asia

David Fossum

David Fossum.


The Arizona State University School of Music in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts welcomes Dave Fossum as assistant professor in the musicology program, beginning in January 2019.

“We are thrilled to have attracted Dave Fossum to our faculty,” said Heather Landes, director of the school. “Dr. Fossum’s research interests in musics of the Middle East and Central Asia and issues related to intellectual property law, cultural policy, religion and language, complement our diverse offerings and will contribute greatly to our graduate programs in ethnomusicology and musicology as well as the undergraduate curriculum.”

Fossum is a passionate educator, researcher and musician whose work has implications for diverse disciplinary realms including the ethnography of law, global connection and development, semiotic anthropology and music theory.

Currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Fossum earned his PhD in ethnomusicology from Brown University, an MA in ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University and a BA in English/comparative literature from George Mason University. He has two peer-reviewed publications in Analytical Approaches to World Music and Ethnomusicology, 12 refereed conference presentations, and five invited lectures.

Fossum incorporates musical diversity and new technology into his work as an ethnomusicologist and has extensive experience performing and researching Western and non-Western genres from jazz and classical guitar to traditional Turkmen music and Turkish Makam-based improvisation. He said he became interested in ethnomusicology while serving in the Peace Corps in a small town in Turkmenistan that was filled with amazing musicians. The trip led to two years of field work in Turkey. 

Fossum said he strives to expose students to a variety of the world’s music while also giving them the tools to respectfully engage with traditions and to think critically about the concepts that musicians and listeners bring to their participation in them.

He said he is also interested in creating new connections across campus and plans to bring interdisciplinary perspectives into the classroom in the areas of creativity, intellectual property and semiotics. Fossum hopes to offer students some of the lessons he learned from his extensive fieldwork experience and his work with diverse research methodologies, both ethnographic and historical.

“ASU seems like a place that's growing and developing in exciting ways, from the university-wide level to the School of Music, where there's interesting program development with the musicology PhD and new undergraduate programs,” Fossum said. “I was impressed with my future colleagues’ collegiality, openness and creativity. It was my goal to be at a research institution that embraces interdisciplinary work, and ASU exemplifies that.”

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