Faculty Spotlight: Melinda Latour

Meet Melinda Latour, Associate Professor of Music
Melinda Latour

How did you find your area of focus within music?
I have many areas of musical interest, but my main research areas (early music, philosophy, and popular music) each developed out of a fundamental curiosity about what music "does" in the lives of performers and listeners, especially in moments of crisis, conflict, or societal change.

How did you find yourself at Tufts? How many years have you been here?
I was extremely fortunate to get this job at Tufts in 2016, right after finishing my PhD at UCLA. I had spent the final 3 years of my doctoral program living in Paris, France, and doing my research, so I moved from Paris directly to Medford.

What classes do you teach at Tufts?
I teach a range of courses in music history before 1750; Music and Ethics; Women in Music; and French Popular Music.

What methods do you use for your research? How has your field changed during the course of your research?
I utilize a full range of methods from historical musicology for finding and analyzing primary sources located in printed special collections and archives, in addition to using newer digital research tools in my work. Since my years in graduate school, the field has become even more interdisciplinary, which is very exciting for me, as I have always been drawn to explore music's
relationship to culture, politics, religion, and ideas.

What projects are you working on at the moment? How do you communicate this work to a greater audience?
I am currently working on a book on Stoicism and music, aimed for a broad audience. I have recently published an article in the Conversation on this research that has circulated widely and has led to several invitations to speak at conferences and events intended for a non-academic audience.

Are you involved in performance, teaching, or scholarship outside of Tufts?
I perform occasionally in community and church music programs, playing my violin, singing, and/or accompanying others on the piano.

What are your hobbies or interests aside from the above?
I am an avid pickleball player, and I also enjoy hiking, swimming, and other outdoor sports. I also love coffee, and I am always excited to discover a new local coffee shop that makes a great flat white or pour-over!