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REF NO.: 48

SUBJECT: Ethnomusicologist named Canada Research Chair at Memorial University

DATE: Dec. 2

Memorial University has a new Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC).

Dr. Harris Berger was formally appointed CRC in Ethnomusicology on Friday, Dec. 2.

Today’s announcement represents a total federal investment of $1.4 million for Memorial research.

Dr. Berger, who is cross-appointed between the School of Music and the Department of Folklore in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, is a leading scholar working in the fields of ethnomusicology, folklore studies and popular music studies. He began at Memorial this fall. In addition to his academic appointment, he is also the new director of the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP), which was established under the leadership of Memorial’s first Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology, Dr. Beverley Diamond.

“The Canada Research Chairs program allows Memorial to recruit and retain some of the world’s most innovative researchers and brightest minds to work here in Newfoundland and Labrador, and Dr. Berger is one of those people,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, Memorial University. “I am grateful to the federal government for its continued investment into Memorial-led research and I wish Dr. Berger all the best as he begins his career here at our university.”

Tier 1 chairs, tenable for seven years and renewable, are for outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. As part of Dr. Berger’s appointment, Memorial will receive $200,000 annually for seven years.

Being named a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair is a significant honour for researchers.

“Memorial is internationally recognized for its leading research and exceptional scholarship in music and folklore,” said Dr. Ray Gosine, vice-president (research) pro tempore. “Through Dr. Berger’s appointment, the Canada Research Chairs program will allow Memorial to further enhance its research expertise in ethnomusicology while attracting more undergraduate and graduate students to our university. I look forward to the outcomes of Dr. Berger’s research.”

Dr. Berger moved to Memorial from Texas A&M University. His research focuses on American popular music, heavy metal music and the theoretical foundations of ethnomusicology and folklore studies.

He says Memorial is one of the few places in North America where ethnomusicologists and folklorists work closely together. He says the energy at the university — and in the City of St. John’s — is “invigorating.”

“The Canada Research Chair has given me the opportunity to bring some of the best scholars in the world to Memorial to work together on projects,” he said. “Inviting colleagues in for MMaP’s scholar-in-residence series, meetings and conferences will allow me to develop research that wouldn’t be possible without the CRC’s generous support.”

Dr. Berger has published five books, including Metal, Rock, and Jazz: Perception and the Phenomenology of Musical Experience and Metal Rules the Globe: Heavy Metal Music Around the World. His work has also appeared in leading journals, such as Ethnomusicology, Popular Music, the Journal of American Folklore and the Journal of Folklore Research. He has served as president of the U.S. branch of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music and, most recently, as president of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Dr. Berger holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MA and PhD from Indiana University.

Memorial is now home to a total of 11 CRCs with several nominations pending.

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For more information, please contact Jeff Green, senior communications advisor, Office of the Vice-President (Research), Memorial University of Newfoundland, at 709-687-9243 or


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