Aaron Fox came to Columbia in 1997. He holds the PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin (1995), and the AB in Music from Harvard College. Aaron’s work has broadly focused on language/music relationships, working-class and popular culture, music and social identity, issues of place and subjectivity, ethnographic methodology, and semiotics and poetics.
In recent years Aaron has focused on issues of cultural and intellectual property and the repatriation of Native American cultural resources, as part of a broader interest in cultural survival and sustainability and music-centered community activism. He is currently working with Dr. Chie Sakakibara (Lecturer in American Indian Studies, University of Oklahoma) on a “community partnered repatriation” of traditional music recordings made by Laura Boulton in 1946, with the Iñupiat community of Alaska’s North Slope. This project is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Arctic Social Sciences Program. He is involved in other repatriation projects in development with the Navajo and Hopi tribes and with an Appalachian music collection.
At Columbia, Aaron teaches courses entitled “Music and Language,” “Music and Property,” “Country Music,” “Social Theory and the Arts,” “Field Research Methods,” “Music in Contemporary Native America” and “Archiving Practice.” He also teaches the graduate proseminars in ethnomusicology, and the graduate and undergraduate field methods courses.
Aaron has served as a past Councilor for the Society for Ethnomusicology, and as a Board member for the American Ethnological Society. He was Chair of the Department of Music from 2008-2011. From 2003-2008, he was Director of the Center for Ethnomusicology, a position he assumed again in 2015. Aaron’s book, Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture, was published by Duke University Press in 2004.