Jennifer Iverson

Jennifer Iverson
Associate Professor in the Department of Music; Director of Graduate Studies
Goodspeed 301
773.702.3499
PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 2009
Research Interests: electronic music, sound studies, synthesizers, disability studies, cultural value and exchange

I explore the intersections between music, technologies, systems, people, and history. I am trained as a music theorist, but I use several methods: close reading, archival research, and interviews. Right now, I am especially interested in synthesizers, in how electronic sounds circulate, and in how cultural value is produced around them. I’m writing a book called Porous Instruments: Race, Gender, and Circulation in Electronic Sound

My first book is Electronic Inspirations: Technologies of the Cold War Avant-Garde (Oxford, 2019). It analyzes one of the first electronic music studios in Cologne, Germany in the 1950s. I expose the roles of invisible collaborators and suggest that the studio provided a place to advance not only musical thought, but also for Germany to make post-war technological and cultural reclamations.

My work in disability studies attends to difficult sounds, especially voices audibly marked as different, disabled, or traumatized. I have written about challenging electro-vocal music by Björk, Milton Babbitt, Trevor Wishart, Luciano Berio, Cathy Berberian, and Alvin Lucier. I am also passionate about disability activism. I lead workshops on inclusive pedagogy and I facilitate a social music program for middle schoolers at City Elementary.

I am an advocate for the public humanities. Here at UofC, I teach across the curriculum, from non-major undergraduate courses (MUSI 104) to graduate seminars. With Michele Friedner, I teach “Disability and Design,” a capstone undergraduate course offered in the Big Problems collection.

I was educated at the University of Texas at Austin, and began my career at the University of Iowa. I have won fellowships including the Stanford Humanities Center and ACLS.