Salam and welcome! I am Elise Anderson, a scholar with dual Ph.D. degrees in Central Eurasian Studies and Ethnomusicology from Indiana University-Bloomington (IU). My research explores the music and other performing arts of the Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

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Photo by China Radio International’s English-language service
November 2015

Broadly speaking, I am interested in how music can become an object of symbol-making and cultural transformation at the same time that it is a lived and embodied practice of artistic expression. In all of my work, I espouse an approach informed equally by ethnomusicology and area studies, and premised on the value of longterm fieldwork, meaningful participant-observation, high-level language facility, and deep cultural immersion. Please take a look at my CV and visit the Research and Teaching tabs on this site to learn more about my academic work.

I was born and raised in rural southern Oklahoma and called the Sooner State home until 2006, when I moved to Bloomington, IN, to begin graduate studies. From 2012 to 2016 I was based out of Ürümchi, the regional capital of Xinjiang, where I conducted ethnographic and archival fieldwork for my doctoral dissertation—and even became a local celebrity after appearing on a reality singing show.

In May 2019 I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation on Uyghur muqam and moved to Washington, D.C., where I am spending the summer working full time as a Liu Xiaobo Fellow at the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

I have always had a keen interest in language, and in all the spare time I don’t actually have, I also run a small freelance business specializing in translation, interpretation, language tutoring, editing, and grant-writing. Please visit my Freelance Services tab to learn more about the services I offer.

Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions or would like to request an interview, discussion, performance, lecture, or anything else. I look forward to hearing from and/or working with you!

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