Denise Gill


(650) 723-3274
Bldg 40, Office 41G

Denise Gill

Associate Professor
Area(s) of Expertise
Degrees / Education
Ph.D., Music, University of California - Santa Barbara, 2011
M.A., Music, University of California - Santa Barbara, 2006
B.M., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2003

Denise Gill is associate professor of ethnomusicology and of Islam & the arts in the Department of Music and the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies at Stanford University, with affiliations in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and The Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Dr. Gill is an ethnomusicologist and Islamic Studies scholar who specializes in sonic and musical practices in western Turkey and former Ottoman territories. The core issue animating Dr. Gill’s research is a concern for developing diverse approaches to studying listening. Her intellectual program is unified by a deep commitment to feminist, anti-colonial, and anti-imperial ethnographic methods, and her publications are the products of participatory action research, oral history methods, historical work in Ottoman and Turkish archives, and over six years of ethnographic fieldwork with Turkish-speaking communities.

Her first book, Melancholic Modalities: Affect, Islam, and Turkish Classical Music (Oxford, 2017) received the Ruth Stone Book Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology. Her work on silence and masculinity among artisans in Istanbul was awarded the Jaap Kunst Prize for the best article in the field and the Marcia Herndon Prize for the best article on gender and sexuality. Dr. Gill has given research talks at several universities including Harvard, the University of Chicago, the MMaP Research Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and New York University. She has delivered keynote addresses at conferences for the National Folk Organization (U.S.), MIAM at Istanbul Technical University, and isaScience (mdw, Vienna).

From 2017-2020, Dr. Gill served as the Chair of the Diversity Action Committee for the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM). She has previously served as the Chair of the Medical Ethnomusicology special interest group (2012-2015) and as a SEM Council Member (2013-2016). 

As a kanun (trapezoidal zither) artist committed to remaining a student of Ottoman art, Turkish classical, and Mevlevi music traditions, Dr. Gill has performed on radio and television programs and in concert halls throughout Turkey, the United States, and in multiple cities in Europe. She continues to perform nationally as a solo recitalist with kanun and voice.

A scholar-teacher deeply invested in critical pedagogies, Dr. Gill was the recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award from the Academic Senate (2010) and an Excellence in Teaching Award from the Graduate Students Association (2007) at UCSB, where she also served as co-coordinator for the transdisciplinary Feminist Pedagogy Series.

Dr. Gill is active in intersectional social justice work, and is certified in washing and shrouding the deceased for Janazah.

List of Publications and Awards