Nadia Chana, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology

I grew up in Edmonton/Amiskwaciwâskahikan singing in choirs (and everywhere else), a context that directly shapes my work, however invisibly. My current research focuses on climate crisis and relations among Indigenous activists, non-Indigenous settlers, and nonhuman actors in Northern Alberta and the California Bay Area. Fuelled by the urgency of climate crisis, I ask: what can healthy relationships between humans and the more-than-human world – plants, animals, water, land – look and feel like? And what role do practices like listening, walking, and even singing play in transforming these relationships?

More generally, I am interested in listening, healing, voice (both audible and metaphoric), embodiment, alternative epistemologies/practice-based ways of knowing, critical race and Indigenous studies, posthumanism, experimental and collaborative ethnography, and Bay Area spirituality.

Active as a performer and facilitator, I use live art song and oratorio performance in combination with group exercises to help people feel their way into and through loss. I have brought my “Music as a Tool for Loss” workshops to diverse audiences ranging from palliative care teams of doctors, nurses, and psychologists, to groups of volunteer caregivers, to members of the general public. In 2012, I co-founded the Bicycle Opera Project, a small opera company that takes contemporary Canadian opera to Canadians by bicycle.

I am finishing a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago (expected in 2018), and hold a post-baccalaureate diploma in voice performance from the University of Manitoba, as well as a B.A. Honours in English Literature and a B.Mus., both from the University of British Columbia.

My research has been supported by a Robert Walser and Susan McClary Fellowship from the Society for American Music, a Howard Mayer Brown Fellowship from the American Musicological Society, the Ida Halpern Fellowship from Society for Ethnomusicology, and a Humanities Without Walls PreDoctoral Fellowship.