James McNally

Lecturer/ Associate Director for Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Antiracism



PhD and Master of Arts, Ethnomusicology, University of Michigan; Bachelor of Arts, Music, Amherst College


James McNally is an ethnomusicologist specializing in the music of Brazil and teaches classes in the Department of Music and the Latin American and Latino Studies Program at UIC. He received his PhD and MA in ethnomusicology from the University of Michigan and his BA in music from Amherst College. Before beginning his PhD, he worked for five years as a public school music teacher in New York City. He currently serves as the associate director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the UIC School of Theatre & Music.

McNally's research draws from a range of fields, including sound studies, critical improvisation studies, critical race theory, and social network analysis. His articles have appeared in EthnomusicologyTwentieth-Century Music, Journal of the Society for American Music, and Popular Music and Society. He 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, Listening to São Paulo, which uses social network analysis to map collaboration networks in São Paulo, Brazil via a navigable online data visualization. In addition to his research, he draws from performance experience as an improvising musician in electronic and experimental music circuits and multi-instrumentalist in Brazilian samba and Javanese gamelan ensembles.

Courses Taught

Latin American Music
Music Cultures of the World
Introduction to Music I
Advanced Topics in Music History and Ethnomusicology