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Diane Oliva to join Department of Musicology in Fall 2022

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance announces that Professor Diane Oliva will join the faculty as assistant professor in the department of musicology in fall 2022. Oliva’s scholarship engages with the history of science, sound studies, and Atlantic history to write transatlantic histories of music and listening in the eighteenth century.

“Dr. Oliva is an award-winning teacher whose research addresses music of the long eighteenth-century along cross-cultural and global perspectives. She brings a fresh and imaginative take to her field of study and adds substantially to the department’s interests and specializations. No doubt, she will change the disciplinary conversation that is ongoing in our classrooms, our community and the field of musicology more broadly. I am looking forward to this change!” remarked Gabriela Cruz, search committee chair. “On behalf of all of us, welcome, Diane, to the department and to SMTD.”

Oliva received her undergraduate degree in music education from the University of South Carolina and a PhD in historical musicology from Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests include global music history, Central American history, Latin American popular music, eighteenth-century music, and music and nature. Her doctoral dissertation, “Earthquakes in the Eighteenth-Century Musical Imagination,” examines the sonic repercussions of four earthquakes—Lima in 1746, Lisbon and Boston in 1755, and Santiago de Guatemala in 1773. 

As a postdoctoral fellow at USC’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities, Oliva developed her dissertation into a book manuscript, while also beginning preliminary work on a second project tentatively titled “Sonic Mappings: The Nature of Empire in Colonial Guatemala.” This project explores the ways music and listening factored into colonial geographical surveys of Guatemala’s diverse landscapes and indigenous populations.

Regarding this new role, Oliva shared, “I am thrilled and honored to research, teach, and serve at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance. I am excited by the opportunities that arise from joining such a vibrant community of performers, scholars, and educators. Working alongside my fellow colleagues and students, I look forward to helping create new paths that bridge musical performance and historical inquiry in the years to come.”