Ulrike Präger

Ulrike Präger I BWInstructor/Lecturer

B.A. and B.M. University Mozarteum Salzburg, Austria; M.M. University Mozarteum Salzburg; Ph.D. Boston University


Ulrike Präger, a native of Munich, Germany, holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology/Musicology from Boston University (2014) as well as degrees in Voice/Vocal Pedagogy from the Mozarteum University Salzburg and in Music and Dance from the Mozarteum’s Carl-Orff-Institute. Her research lies at the intersection of ethno/musicology and migration, diaspora, and memory studies, investigating musical expressions of refugees and forced migrants as a response to their experiences of displacement and violence. As part of her dissertation on the expulsion of Germans from the Bohemian Lands in the aftermath of the Second World War, she conducted extensive ethnographic and historical research on individuals’ musical expressions of loss and identity building after migration, as well as on music’s impact on Cold War politics and transcultural interactions in East and West.

This research led to her postdoctoral studies of people’s creative expressions in contemporary forced migration. For this project, she recently started to engage with the “voices” of refugees fleeing from the Middle East as well as from African countries to mainly Germany. Based on interviews conducted with migrants and members of the host society who recently started various musical initiatives in Munich and in Berlin, Ulrike investigates the “migrant voice” not only in regard to the “sounding voice,” but mainly in terms of impetus for medial representation, processes of integration and assimilation, individual narrative, and the constantly changing soundscapes of receiving countries based on musical negotiations between migrants and host society. The migrants’ narratives highlight how musical practice and musical repertoire take on social roles impacting individuals and groups within social settings, and reversely, how changing musical styles are driven by societal modifications incited by migration processes. She suggests that listening to and re-storying these voices of migration, both as process and product are critical in contributing facets generally overlooked in policy discourses, refugee advocacy, as well as in academic accounts.

Ulrike recently published her research on post-Second World War forced migration in the journal European Review of History: Revue europeenne d’histoire, a chapter in the German handbook Media and Practices of Remembering Flight and Expulsion with Schöningh, as well as a chapter in Music and (Be)longing with Cambridge Scholars Publishing. She currently is working on a monograph titled “Songs of Forced Migration. Musical Mobility and Cultural Memory in the Expulsion of the Germans from the Bohemian Lands” as well as on articles on contemporary refugee “voices.” Her further research interests include cultural memory studies, performance and sound studies, narrative inquiry, and experimental processes and creativity in music and dance.

Before coming to UIUC, Ulrike taught at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts Boston, the University of Münster, Germany, and was tenured faculty at the Academy for Social Pedagogy in Munich, Germany where she oversaw the program of music studies. Ulrike also actively performs as a soprano soloist and chorister with ensembles in Europe and the United States, including Cambridge Concentus (MA), of which she is a founding member.
Conference presentations 2016/2107:

Humboldt University of Berlin, German Sociological Association and The Berlin Institute for Integration and Migration Research, International Conference, The Sociology of Migration: Current Developments and Future Trends, paper presentation, “Musical Integration and the Creation of New Belongings,” Berlin, Germany.

Universities of Lund, Tartu, and Greifswald, International Conference The Collapse of Memory-Memory of Collapse: Remembering the Past, Re-constructing the Future in Periods of Crisis, paper presentation, “Memorizing, Medializing, and “Musicking” Migration,” Lund, Sweden.

Annual Conference of the German Studies Association, paper presentation and panel moderator “GDR Secret Musical Spaces: German Forced Migrants’ Spatial Renegotiations of Belonging,” San Diego, CA, USA.

Annual Meeting of the Austrian Society for Musicology, Musicological Migration Research, Methodological Approaches and Theoretical Frameworks, panelist “Forced Migrants in 2016,” Salzburg, Austria.

Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, panelist for Sounding Displacement and Belonging: Music and Refugees in Contemporary Germany, paper presentation, “Since Emmason sings with us, everything changed: Contextualizing the ‘Refugee Voice’ in Contemporary Germany,” Washington, DC, USA.

Congress of the International Musicological Society, Musicology: Theory and Practice, East and West, paper presentation, “Musical Narratives of Cold War Nostalgia Tourism,” Tokyo, Japan.


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