Research/Areas of Interest:

Music, ritual, and trance; music and minoritized people; musics of North Africa, Sufism, and Islam; rhythmic theory; global jazz


  • PhD, University of Chicago, USA, 2004
  • BA, Tufts University, USA, 1995


Richard Jankowsky, PhD, received his BA in Anthropology and Music from Tufts University and his PhD in Ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago. Prior to his appointment to the Department of Music at Tufts University in 2006, he was on the faculty of the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, England.

Through fieldwork-based methods, Professor Jankowsky's primary area of research revolves around the intersection of music, ritual, and power in North Africa, particularly music's capacity to heal, to maintain and narrate histories of minoritized populations, to create conditions for transcendent experiences, and to serve as a flashpoint for debates over cultural, religious, and political identities. His music analytical work explores issues of cyclicity, density, and transformation in contemporary trance rituals. His most recent book, Ambient Sufism: Ritual Niches and the Social Work of Musical Form (University of Chicago Press, 2021) received the Alan Merriam Book Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology, Honorable Mention for the L. Carl Brown Book Prize from the American Institute for Maghreb Studies, and was a Finalist in the American Academy of Religion Book Prize on Religion and the Arts. The book features a companion web site developed in conjunction with Tufts Digital Library. His previous book, Stambeli: Music, Trance, and Alterity in Tunisia (University of Chicago Press, 2010), received three honorable mention awards for book prizes from academic societies in the fields of anthropology, ethnomusicology, and North African Studies. He is a two-time National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow and has also received grants from the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Fulbright.