Tomal Hossain

Tomal Hossain headshot
Cohort Year: 2019
Advisor(s): Philip V. Bohlman
Research Interests: Global Islam and Muslim solidarities; Indian Ocean Studies; diaspora and migration crisis; nationalism; sacred sound; analysis of traditional music; digital humanities
Education: MA, University of Chicago, 2022; BA, Amherst College, 2017; Certificate in Ethnomusicology, Amherst College


My abiding interests in music/sound studies revolve around Islam and questions of identity, diaspora, and nationalism in the Indian Ocean region. My current dissertation research examines tarana song among Rohingya Muslims as a kind of Islamic asylum and interface for negotiating Muslimness in/as crisis. In a similar vein, I have also worked on the songs of Kazi Nazrul Islam and (diasporic) Bangladeshi Muslim identity and the sonic rituals of various, transnational Sufi orders.

As a performer, I specialize in traditional Bengali and Hindustani vocal musics and dabble in Arab, Carnatic, Central Javanese, and jazz musics.

Prior to joining the PhD program in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago, I earned a BA in Computer Science and Music from Amherst College and a certificate in ethnomusicology from the Five College Consortium (2017).


  • 20th & 21st Century Cultures Workshop (presenter)
  • Ethnoise! (presenter)
  • Sound and Society (presenter)

Teaching Experience

  • South Asian Music Ensemble (Co-Director), Fall 2020–Spring 2022
  • Bollywood Beats: Music and Sound in Popular Hindi Cinema (Course Assistant), Spring 2022
  • Introduction to World Music (Course Assistant), Winter 2022