• Assistant Professor of Russian and East European Studies
  • Director of the Oberlin Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (OCREECAS)
  • Adam Joseph Lewis Center 203
  • (440) 775-8650
  • Mondays and Tuesdays, 11 am to 12:30 pm and by appointment


  • BA, Music Theory, Pomona College, 2005
  • PhD, the Anthropology of Music (Ethnomusicology), University of Pennsylvania, 2012


Ian MacMillen directs the Oberlin Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies (OCREECAS).

He is currently working with other Russian and East European Studies (REES) faculty to organize a series of programs (2016-2018) commemorating communist revolutions of the 20th century that will culminate in fall 2017 with the centennial of Russia's October Revolution.


Formerly assistant professor of ethnomusicology at Whitman College, MacMillen teaches ethnomusicology and anthropology courses in Oberlin’s REES program with a focus primarily on Eastern Europe, Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East.

Current and recent courses include  Roma and "Gypsies" in the Musical Imagination, The Anthropology of Eastern Europe,Music and Revolution in Postsocialist Eurasia, Worlding Yugoslavia, Rockin' the Bloc, and a Balkan Music Ensemble.

His classes regularly include hands-on fieldwork and service components for which they partner with local diasporic communities and Orthodox churches.

Research Interests

Ian MacMillen's primary research focuses on the racialized and affective nature of interethnic and transnational connections forged through music —particularly popular and traditional tambura chordophone bands in multiethnic communities of post-conflict Croatia, Serbia, and Bosnia.

This work has been funded by an ACLS Dissertation Research Fellowship in East European Studies, a research grant from the Association for Recorded Sound Collections, and Oberlin College Powers Travel Grants.

Additional interests include musical fascination and tourism in SE Europe, popular music black markets along Eastern Europe's borderwaters; the use of American jazz and rock 'n' roll in Soviet political animated film; and musical connections between Africa and the African Diaspora.

Select Publications

  • “Cartoon Jazz: Soviet Animations and the Khrushchev ‘Thaw,’” peer-reviewed article coauthored with art historian Masha Kowell of the Norton Simon Museum, in Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Winter 2015):24-38
  • “Fascination, Musical Tourism, and the Loss of the Balkan Village (Notes on Bulgaria’s Koprivshtitsa Festival),” peer-reviewed article in Ethnomusicology, Vol. 59, No. 2 (Summer 2015):227-261
  • “Tamburaši of the Balkanized Peninsula: Musical Relations of The Slavonian Tambura Society “Pajo Kolarić” in Croatia and Its Intimates,” peer-reviewed article in Balkanistica, Vol. 27 (Spring 2014):75-109
  • “Ritual and Performance in the Yorùbá World,” exhibition by Ian MacMillen with assistance from Dessane Cassell ’14,  Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, February – July 2013
  • “Local Color and the Search for the Musical Origin of the Nation in the Early Nineteenth Century, from the German to the Croatian Lands,” peer-reviewed article in Bulgarian Musicology [Българско Музикознание], Vol. 37, No. 1 (Spring 2013):3-16
  • “From the Center in the Middle: Working Tambura Bands and Constructions of the In-Between in Croatia and Its Intimates,” peer-reviewed article in Current Musicology, Vol. 91 (November 2011):87-122
  • “Recitation of the Qur’an,” documentary film project by Ian MacMillen and Darien Lamen, debuted May 2006