Russian and East European Studies
Department Chair:
Stephen Crowley

Administrative Assistant:
Polly Bratton

Department Email:

Phone: 440 7758650
Fax: 440 7756355

Peters Hall 222
50 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

Ian MacMillen

Ian MacMillen

Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor
The Oberlin Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (OCREECAS)

Contact Information


Peters 410
Personal Office Hours:
Wednesdays 12:30 to 2:30 PM and by appointment

Ian MacMillen

Ian MacMillen

Educational Background

  • B.A. in Music Theory - Pomona College (2005)
  • Ph.D. in The Anthropology of Music (Ethnomusicology) - The University of Pennsylvania (2012)

Ian MacMillen teaches courses (primarily on music) as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Russian and East European Studies Program and works as a postdoctoral fellow at the Oberlin Center for Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies (OCREECAS). His responsibilities include providing administrative support with the center’s event programming, website, and newsletter. He has also taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Oberlin's Conservatory of Music. His recent, current, and planned courses at Oberlin include:

- Balkan Ensemble (in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Fall 2010 to the present)

- Rockin' the Bloc: From Doo-Wop to Punk Rock in Communist Eastern Europe (Fall 2012)

- Music and Revolution in Postsocialist Eurasia (Spring 2013)

- Roma and "Gypsies" in the Musical Imagination (Fall 2013)

- Music and Ritual (in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Spring 2014)

- Anthropology of Eastern Europe (Fall 2014)

- Musical Studies Major Senior Seminar (Spring 2015) 

His classes regularly include hands-on fieldwork and service components for which they partner with Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Lorain, OH. He also teaches a weekly Balkan dance class open to students, staff, and faculty and an informal class in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language as part of the new initiative to offer rarely taught languages at Oberlin College.

MacMillen earned a BA in music with a concentration in music theory at Pomona College, and went on to earn a PhD in the anthropology of music/ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was named a 2012 Dean's Scholar. His primary research, which has been funded by an ACLS Dissertation Research Fellowship in East European Studies, a Research Grant from the Asociation for Recorded Sound Collections, and an Oberlin College Powers Travel Grant, focuses on the racialized and affective nature of interethnic and transnational connections forged through music - particularly popular and traditional tambura chordophone music in multiethnic communities of post-conflict Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia. Secondary interests include musical fascination and tourism in Bulgaria; intersections of theories of light with conceptions of "local color" in 19th-century German and Croatian national musics; musical connections and contact between Africa and the African Diaspora (e.g. an exhibition at Oberlin's Allen Memorial Art Museum on ritual and performance in the broader Yoruba world, an exhibition in the Oberlin Conservatory of Music on Yoruba percussion instruments curated with the class Music and Ritual, and a film project on North African Qur'anic recitation practices in an African American/African immigrant mosque in Philadelphia); and the use of American jazz and rock 'n' roll in Soviet political animated film, a project for which he and his research partner (art historian Masha Kowell) received Penn's Provost Award for Interdisciplinary Innovation. His work appears or is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed journals EthnomusicologyCurrent Musicology, Yearbook for Traditional MusicBulgarian Musicology, and Balkanistica, as well as in the Hrvatski Tamburaški Brevijar (Croatian Tambura Breviary). He also is a founding editor of the East European Folklife Center's online journal Forum Folkloristika.

MacMillen lives near campus and in his spare time enjoys fly fishing and playing East European folk instruments.