Environmental Studies

  • Eric Usner

Eric Usner

Trained first in the liberal arts and later in musicology, ethnomusicology, dance ethnology, and anthropology, I have interests in performance and expressive culture, and in the arts in the public sphere. I’m fascinated by the power of music to bear witness to lived experience. At present, I’m concerned with the possibilities and responsibilities for the arts (as aesthetic experience) in shaping ecological imaginations that nurture meaningful understandings and responses to our climate crisis.

My teaching and research explore engaged and collaborative scholarship, dialogic pedagogy, community-based learning, and experiential education. I’ve worked with undergrad and graduate students at University of California-Riverside, NYU, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Vienna, The University of Chicago, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Since 2014, I’ve been, as one faculty put it, a “utility infielder,”  as an adjunct at Franklin & Marshall College creating courses for programs in Music; American Studies; First-Year Studies; Environmental Studies; and Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

My multi-disciplinary turn to ecological concerns began in earnest a few years ago and has found expression in both teaching and writing but also community-based work helping to launch a non-profit start-up that is localizing the climate work of Project Drawdown.

I’m thrilled for the chance to work in Environmental Studies at Ursinus, especially around my long-standing interest in food, which much like music, offers both basic and myriads way for understanding humans’ being in relationship with one another and the living world.


Environmental Studies


Ph.D.    New York University, New York, NY 2008
M.A.     University of California, Riverside, Riverside, California 1999
             University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria 1994-96 (Fulbright post-graduate study)
B.A.      Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania 1992


ENV-216 Introduction to Food & Society

Recent Work

Recent & Upcoming Talks

“Towards Eco-Aesth/ethical Regenerative Music Studies,” 46th International Council for Traditional Music, Lisbon, Portugal. 2022

“‘The Beholding Ear,’ or Hearing Different Stories - Towards Regenerative Music Studies.” isaScience 2021. University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. Reichanau am Rax, Austria. 2021

“Teaching in Place.” Musical Activism & Agency. Pre-Conference Symposium. 65th Meeting of SEM. 2021

“Localizing Drawdown: Collaboratively Building Regenerate Lancaster.” Research to Action: The Science of Drawdown. 1st International Drawdown Conference. Penn State University. 2019

“Sounding Sustainability: Musical Greenwashing in the Time of Climate Crisis.” MUSIC//MEDIA//HISTORY. Re-Thinking Musicology in an Age of Digital Media. Institut für Musikwissenschaft und Interpretationsforschung, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Vienna, Austria. 2019.

“Teaching in Real-Time: Toward Ethnographic, Collaborative, Inclusive Pedagogies of World Music.” Participatory Approaches to Music and Democracy. isaScience 2018. University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. Reichanau am Rax, Austria. 2018

“Paradoxen des Schlaraffenlands: Hunger, Ernährungssicherung, und Food Justice im Lokallebensmittelbewegungen der USA“ [Paradoxes in the Land of Plenty: Hunger, Food Security, and Food Justice in Local Food Movement of the USA] Internationales Forschungzentrum Kulturwissenschaft, Sommerakademie. Austria. 2016