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Photo of McNally, James

James McNally


Theatre and Music and LALS


Building & Room:



1040 W Harrison St, Chicago, IL 60607


James McNally is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the music of Brazil, and teaches classes in the Departments of Theatre and Music and Latin American and Latino Studies. He received his PhD and M.A. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan and his B.A. in Music from Amherst College. Before beginning his PhD, he worked for five years as a public school music teacher in New York City.
 McNally's research draws from a range of fields, including sound studies, critical improvisation studies, critical race theory, social network analysis, media studies, and urban geography. He has articles published or accepted for publication in Ethnomusicology, Popular Music and Society, and the Journal of the Society for American Music, and has presented his research in the general meetings of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the American Musicological Society, the Society for American Music, and the International Council for Traditional Music. His work has received support from a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Fulbright-Hays Award, and Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. He is also the former assistant editor of the University of Michigan Press journal Music & Politics.
McNally's current book project, São Paulo Underground, investigates collaborative creative communities and experimental music in the context of contemporary Brazilian cultural politics. He is also developing a digital humanities project, “Cartographies of Collaborative Creativity,” which maps collaboration networks in Brazil via an interactive online digital media module. In addition to his research, he draws from performance experience as a choir director, improvising musician in electronic and experimental music circuits, and multi-instrumentalist in Brazilian samba and Javanese gamelan ensembles.