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The disciplines of folklore and ethnomusicology are shaped by a deep appreciation of diverse perspectives. The Department of Folklore of Ethnomusicology reaffirms its commitment to inclusion of all students, faculty, and staff. The following page provides resources that may be useful for anyone experience the effects of exclusion, bias, and marginalization.

Diversity and Inclusion Think Tank

Following the recent presidential election, a volunteer group of graduate students created the Diversity and Inclusion Think Tank to work towards making our department and campus a safer, more inclusive environment. To get involved, please e-mail:

Campus Events

Our department regularly hosts scholars, discussions, and events that are designed to increase inclusivity, such as the Critical Race Theory Workshop Series. Please visit the News & Events section for an up-to-date list.

Bias Incident Reporting

What is a bias-based incident?

Any act of discrimination or harassment based on:

Where can I report?

Mobile app: IU Mobile App (
Phone: (812) 855-8188

Additional Resources and Hotlines

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
IU Health Center
IU Police Department
Stop Sexual Violence

  1. Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
  2. Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis.
  3. Veterans Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
  4. Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-723

Sanctuary Campus Support Letter

The Undocuhoosier Alliance, an organization that advocates for undocumented people at Indiana University, has been petitioning the Bloomington Faculty Council for months for the declaration of Sanctuary Campus.  To support these efforts, affiliated graduate students have mobilized in support of the Sanctuary Campus movement. Keeping in solidarity with other departments engaged in the movement so far, we have drafted a letter written for the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. Click here to view the letter.

Responses to Recent Events

Statement of Solidarity
January 31, 2017

Dear students,
As Chair of the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, I write to reaffirm the message of inclusivity that was articulated and embraced at the Town Hall back in December and that is being reinforced in student and faculty initiatives at the present moment. I stand in solidarity with the president of IU, the provost of the Bloomington campus, and the executive dean of the College, each of whom has condemned Friday’s executive order by the president of the United States prohibiting citizens and refugees from certain countries to enter the United States. Our fields of study, more than most others, are founded on respect and recognition of our common humanity – indeed, we celebrate it – and consequently, the misguided actions of the US president constitute a particular affront to all that we hold dear. I want to assure all of you that the faculty and staff of our department remain committed to the values of inclusivity, decency, and humanity, and that we are committed to upholding these values at all times, particularly when they are under attack. If any of you are aware of issues or incidents related to the current crisis that require our attention, please contact me, Chris Roush, or any other member of the faculty or staff. This is a time, as I said back in December, for us all to be on the lookout for one another.
Sincerely, and with deep concern,
John H. McDowell

SEM Board Opposes U.S. Executive Order Banning Immigrants

The Board of the Society for Ethnomusicology joins other constituents of the American Council of Learned Societies in calling for the immediate retraction of the U.S. Executive Order of January 27, 2017, that bans or puts limitations on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. This Order violates the Society’s core values of respect for human diversity, inclusivity, free inquiry, creativity, and the open exchange of ideas.

For over sixty years, SEM has served as a U.S.-based international forum for the study of music across all cultural contexts and historical periods. Within the U.S., the field of ethnomusicology has flourished in the academy and public sphere through the interactions of scholars, musicians, and students from countries throughout the world. Through these exchanges, ethnomusicologists have advanced public understanding and appreciation of the world’s vast musical and cultural heritage and its significance for civil society.

The new Executive Order is, at present, disrupting the movement of musicians and other artists, scholars, teachers, students, and their family members into and out of the U.S. A radical departure from American values and goals, it undermines the mission of colleges and universities, scholarly societies, and arts-presenting institutions. SEM will work with other organizations to oppose this Order and to offer support for colleagues affected by its directives.

The Board of Directors
Society for Ethnomusicology

On February 1, 2017, the AFS Executive Board issued the following statement:

The Executive Board of the American Folklore Society (AFS), a US-based international learned society whose members live, teach, and conduct cultural research in many countries around the world, believes that President Donald J. Trump’s recent executive order regarding Muslim immigration to the United States from seven countries strikes at the heart of our mission, our understanding, and our values.

AFS and our field are committed to excellence in folklore scholarship and public education, and to making the work of folklorists freely available in order to foster the larger public understanding of traditional cultural expression in communities throughout the world. The President’s executive order impedes that mission. Faculty members, students, public humanists, and independent scholars from our field depend on the freedom of travel to pursue their work. Already we have received reports of scholars who have been prevented from returning home to the United States from research trips abroad. The executive order will impede international scholars and students who hope to study in the United States—long a haven for such colleagues—as well as American students who plan to study abroad.

The executive order also contradicts what we as folklorists understand about the world’s histories and cultures. Much violence has been committed in the name of "tradition" when tradition has been construed as an instrument of national or religious purification. When international communication among folklorists is prevented, it is too easy for national intellectuals to invent their own mythologies. Our comparative tradition, on the contrary, demonstrates that traditions circulate independently of national boundaries and that every country has diverse and complex, even contradictory traditions. International communication keeps us all honest. The complexity of national communities is erased when all citizens of certain countries are targeted as security risks.

The executive order also conflicts with and jeopardizes our core values of diversity, mutual respect, inclusion, and free inquiry, and our belief that those values should serve as the foundation for all governmental decisions regarding our members, colleagues, and fellow citizens everywhere. In the United States, we respect individuals and judge them by their conduct, not their origins. The countries affected by the executive order are not just religiously diverse. As their recent histories of conflict make clear, they contain individuals with widely different views on the interpretation of Islam, on the best forms of government, on approaches to international relations, and so on. To provide special treatment for Christians, as the executive order appears to do, is not only discriminatory against Muslims in a way that is un-American; it also treats categories as more important than individuals. This is no part of our constitutional tradition.

With other learned societies, colleges and universities, and educational leaders across the nation, we call on the President and the Congress to retract the executive order and to denounce intolerance in all its forms.

Student Groups on IU’s Campus

IU’s campus is host to many student groups and resources. The following is an abbreviated list of groups of interest. Click on the organization for more information.