Department Chair:
Baron Pineda, Chair

Administrative Assistant:
Judi Davidson

Department Email:

Phone: (440) 775-8970
Fax: (440) 775-8644

King Building 305
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074-1019

Office Hours: 730-400

Jennifer Fraser

Jennifer Fraser

Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology and Anthropology

Contact Information


Kohl 336
(440) 775-6904

Jennifer Fraser

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney (1996)
  • Master of Arts, Ethnomusicology, Brown University (1998)
  • PhD, Musicology, University of Illinois (2007)
  • (On Leave Spring 2014)

Areas of Specialty:

West Sumatra, Indonesia; Gong Ensembles; Ethnicity; Gender; Islam; Natural Disasters

Grants and Awards:

  • Teaching Excellence Award 2009-10, Oberlin College
  • Research Status, Oberlin College, AY 2010-11.
  • International Dissertation Research Fellowship, Social Science Research Council (SSRC). 2003-2004.
  • Presser Music Award for Graduate Students. 2003-2004.
  • University Medal, University of Sydney. 1996.


  • Pop Songs and Gongs: The Transformation of Music in West Sumatra. Under contract with Ohio University Press.
  • "The Art of Grieving: West Sumatra's Worst Earthquake in Music Videos," Ethnomusicology Forum, DOI:10.1080/17411912.2012.
  • "Pop Song as Custom: Weddings, Entrepreneurs, and Ethnicity in West Sumatra."  Ethnomusicology 55(2): 200-228, 2011.
  • “Hybridity and Emergent Traditions: Gongs, Pop Songs, and the Story of Talempong Kreasi in West Sumatra.” Proceedings of the 1st Symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Performing Arts of Southeast Asia. ICTM Study Group on the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia. 31-36. 2011.
  • “Talempong Transformations: Cultural Politics and Aesthetics,” in Mambangkik Batang Tarandam, Kumpulan Makalah Seminar Internasional Kebudayaan Minangkabau 2004 (Collection of Papers from International Seminar on Minangkabau Culture), Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia.
  • “Discovering the Music of Indonesia,” CD Series Review, Bijdragen tot de taal-, land-en Volkenkunde. 160 (1): 160-175, 2004.
  • “Talempong: West Sumatran Music,” Swara Bendhe, 6(March 2004): 8-10.
  • “Tracing Talempong in West Sumatra,” Latitudes, 44 (September 2004): 50-56.

Professional Affiliations:

Adjunct Professor (2003), Teaching Assistant (2000-03, 2005), Performance Ensemble Instructor and Director of the West Sumatran Gong and Drum Ensemble (2001-03, 2005-06), University of Illinois; Ethnographic experience in West Sumatra and Jakarta, Indonesia (Summer 2010; 2003-04), College of Indonesia Arts, West Sumatra (1998-99), Bali, Indonesia (1994-95).


  • "Music to Survive Disasters By: Making Sense of West Sumatra's Worst Earthquake." Society for Ethnomusicology 56th Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, November 17-20, 2011.
  • "Inscribing Grief, Marketing Tragedy: Exploring the Sonic Ecology of the 2009 West Sumatran Earthquake through Music videos." International Council of Traditional Music 41st World Conference, St. John's Newfoundland, Canada, July 13-19, 2011.
  • "Inscribing Grief, Marketing Tragedy: Exploring the 2009 West Sumatran Earthquake through Music Videos." Midwest Chapter of Society for Ethnomuiscology Annual Meeting, April 8-10, 2011, Bowling Green State University, Ohio. 
  • “Female Rivalry, Black Magic, and Legitimacy in Gong Ensembles in a West Sumatran Village.” Society for Ethnomusicology, 55th Annual Meeting, November 10-14, 2010, Los Angeles, CA.
  • “Hybridity and Emergent Traditions: Gongs, Pop Songs, and the Story of Talempong Kreasi in West Sumatra.” Southeast Asian Studies Performing Arts Study Group of the International Council for Traditional Music, Inaugural Meeting, Singapore, June 10-13, 2010.
  • “Women on Stage: Sex Appeal, Porno Lyrics, and the Male Gaze in Islamic West Sumatra.” Society for Ethnomusicology, 52nd Annual Meeting, October 25-28, 2007, Columbus, OH.
  • “From the Highlands to the Metropolis: Traversing Aesthetic and Discursive Distance in West Sumatra” Paper presented at the Society of Ethnomusicology, 51st Annual Meeting, November 2006, Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • “Custom for Hire: The Performance of Ethnicity at Cosmopolitan Minangkabau Weddings.” Paper presented at the Society for Ethnomusicology, 50th Annual Meeting, November 2005, Atlanta, Georgia.
  • “Transformasi Talempong: Politik Kebudayaan dan Estetika (Talempong Transformations: Cultural Politics and Aesthetics].” Paper presented in Indonesian at International Seminar on Minangkabau Culture, Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. November 2004.
  • “Penahanan Perbedaan: Instansi Pemerinth, Perubahan Estetika Musik, dan Penyajian Etnis Minangkabau (Containing Diversity: State institutions, musical aesthetics, and the performance of ethnicity in West Sumatra, Indonesia.)” Colloquium paper presenting research results at College of Indonesian Arts, West Sumatra. October 2004.
  • “From the Village to the State: a Minangkabau Musical Genre and the Indonesian College of the Arts.” Paper presented at Southeast Asia Student Conference, Northern Illinois University. March 2002.
  • “Identities of Queerness.” Paper presented at the Society of Ethnomusicology, 42nd Annual Meeting, October 1997. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


Invited Talks:

  • Department of Music, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, April 13, 2012
  • Participant in Symposium on Minangkabau Culture: Islamic Influence and Matrilineal Traditions at East-West Center Arts Program and the University of Hawai'i-Manoa Department of Theatre and Dance, Hawai'i, January 27, 2012.
  • Department of Music, University of Hawai'i-Manoa, January 23, 2012.
  • Department of Anthropology, Andalas University, Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. July 15, 2010.
  • Southeast Asian Seminar, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. August 19, 2010.