Christopher Waterman

Rocking the dundun at Kaufman Hall 2007 

Christopher Waterman, Ph.D., Professor
Culture and Performance. Dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture
World Arts and Cultures
Joined WAC in 1996.
Los Angeles, CA 90095

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An anthropologist, ethnomusicologist and musician who specializes in the study of music and culture in Africa and the Americas, Chris Waterman joined UCLA in 1996 as a professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, became chair of the department in 1997, and was appointed as dean in 2003. Prior to joining UCLA, he served on the visiting faculties of Bowdoin College and the University of Oslo and was an associate professor of music at the University of Washington, where he served as head of the ethnomusicology program and chair of the African studies committee. He holds a B.A. in composition and electric bass from Berklee College of Music, a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and studied African languages and cultures at Yale University and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.  

Chris has conducted field research among the Yorùbá people of Nigeria, and is the author of Jùjú: A Social History and Ethnography of an African Popular Music (University of Chicago Press, 1990); co-author of the textbooks American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3 (4th ed.) (Oxford University Press, 2013) and Rock: Music, Culture, and Business (Oxford University Press, 2012); and guest editor of the volume Cultural Expression, Creativity and Innovation, in Sage Publications’ Cultures and Globalization Series (2010). His scholarly work has been recognized with Fulbright and Social Science Research Council fellowships, a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities, and awards such as The Ethel Curry Distinguished Lectureship in Musicology from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), the Class of 1960 Professorship at Williams College, and the Robert Trotter Lectureship, awarded annually by the College Music Society. In 2008 he was selected as keynote speaker for the Third International Symposium on the Music of Africa at Princeton University. 

In his capacity as a professional bassist Chris has performed in a variety of musical genres with musicians such as Zoot Sims, Larry Coryell, Mike Stern, Don Lanphere, Jim Knapp, the Glenn Miller and Jimmy Dorsey orchestras, I.K. Dairo MBE and the Blue Spots, Dumi Maraire, and Chatta Addy. 


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UCLA Department of World Arts Cultures/Dance
Box 951608, 150 Kaufman Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1608
Tel 310.825.3951
Email: wacinfo@arts.ucla.edu