• Eric Usner
Senior Adjunct Assistant Professor of American Studies

Ph.D.  New York University

M.A.  University of California, Riverside

University of Vienna, Post-graduate study on Fulbright

Cambridge University, TEFLA Certificate

B.A.  Dickinson College


A freelance professor teaching environmental studies and sustainability through music, food, literature, and experiential education both in higher education and in the public sphere. Studied and taught throughout the U.S. and in Europe.

Trained broadly in liberal arts, and in particular in Austrian & Central European literature, culture, and history; historical musicology; popular music studies; jazz studies; ethnomusicology; dance ethnology; performance studies; and anthropology. Broad interests in performance and expressive culture and in arts in the public sphere. Conducted ethnographic work in the US, Europe, and Central America. Teaching and research shaped by engaged and collaborative methodologies, dialogic pedagogy, community-based learning, and experiential education. Taught at UC-Riverside, New York University, Sarah Lawrence College, Bard College, The University of Vienna, The University of Chicago, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, and Ursinus College.

More recently I’ve turned my energies within and without the academy to finding ways to animate issues of ecology, climate, and sustainability as a response to the ever-intensifying demands for meaningful climate action. Ecological and sustainability mindsets can be found connected to all we teach and do (Weissman 2012).

As an adjunct at Franklin & Marshall since 2014, I’ve created courses for American Studies; Music; the Connections Curriculum; Environmental Studies; and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

2022 -2023

CNX 179: Music & Environment


WGS/AFS/ENE 373: Gender, Intersectionality, & Sustainability


AMS/WGS/MUS: 377: Intersectionality & American Music

AMS/MUS: 177: American Popular Music


AMS 100: Introduction to American Studies: What is America(n)?

AMS/ENE 271: American Nature: Identity, Culture, & Sustainability


ENE 278: The Political Ecology of Food and Agriculture (co-taught w/ Eve Bratman)


CNX 179: Music & the Environment


CNX 179: Music & the Environment

MUS/AMS 377: American Music Politics

MUS/AMS/AFS 274: Music Along the Mississippi: A History of Jazz & Blues

MUS 102: Introduction to World Music (Hearing Refugee Cultures in G/local Pennsylvania)

MUS 277: Music in Cultural Perspective.


CNX 161: The Past, Present, & Future of Food

CNX 226: Things: The Social Life of Objects

AMS/MUS 377: American Music Politics


AMS 274: Introduction to Critical Food Studies

AMS/MUS 377: The Music of Working America


Additionally, I offer MUS102 Introduction to World Musicking and AMS /ENE 278 America Eats: Food, Nature, & Sustainability each summer.


Recent Papers

  • “Towards Critical Pedagogies of Un/learning, Growing Ecological Imaginations Through Music.” University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. Reichanau am Rax, Austria. 2022
  • “‘The Beholding Ear,’ or Hearing Different Stories - Towards Regenerative Music Studies.” isaScience 2021. University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. Reichanau am Rax, Austria. 2021
  • “Teaching in Place.” Musical Activism & Agency. Pre-Conference Symposium. 65th Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Toronto, Canada. (Online Meeting). 2020
  • “Localizing Drawdown: Collaboratively Building Regenerate Lancaster.” Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown. 1st International Drawdown Conference. Penn State University. State College, Pennsylvania. 2019
  •  “Sounding Sustainability: Musical Greenwashing in the Time of Climate Crisis.” MUSIC/MEDIA/HISTORY. Re-Thinking Musicology in an Age of Digital Media. Institut für Musikwissenschaft und Interpretationsforschung, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst, Vienna. 2019.
  • “Teaching in Real-Time: Toward Ethnographic, Collaborative, Inclusive Pedagogies of World Music.” Participatory Approaches to Music and Democracy. isaScience. University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. Reichenau am Rax, Austria. 2018
  • Paradoxen des Schlaraffenlands: Hunger, Ernährungssicherung, und Food Justice im Lokallebensmittelbewegungen der USA.[Paradoxes in the Land of Plenty: Hunger, Food Security, and Food Justice in the Local Food Movements in the United States.]  Internationales Forschungzentrum Kulturwissenschaft, Sommerakademie. Krems, Austria. 2016