Aaron S. Allen, Ph.D., F.A.A.R., is director of the Environment & Sustainability Program and associate professor of musicology. A native of rural Appalachia, he earned his B.S. (environmental studies) and B.A. (music) at Tulane University. Dr. Allen then earned a Ph.D. in music at Harvard University. He received the Paul Mellon Post-Doctoral Rome Prize for 2011-12 and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (see this interview about his time at the AAR). Dr. Allen published Current Directions in Ecomusicology: Music, Culture, Nature (Routledge 2016), which won the 2018 Ellen Koskoff Edited Volume Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology; UNCG Now provides a short article about the book, and here and here are interviews about the Prize.
Before being appointed Program director in 2015, Dr. Allen served as UNCG’s first Academic Sustainability Coordinator. He worked with faculty to increase and improve sustainability throughout UNCG, especially through workshops on how to incorporate sustainability into the curriculum. Dr. Allen worked with the Office of Sustainability to bridge academic and operations efforts, created the “Introduction to Sustainability Studies” (then ENV 110, now GES 162) and “Sustainable Campus Operations” (ENV 350, GES 360) courses, established the Sustainability Faculty Fellows Program, and helped to institutionalize the UNCG Green Fund. Dr. Allen also co-lead the effort to create the new Department of Geography, Environment, and Sustainability. His environmental leadership began with three years as president of the student environmental organization at Tulane, where he led efforts to institutionalize sustainability. As an undergraduate, he was twice selected as a Udall Scholar in part for his work to green Tulane via his undergraduate honors thesis, “Greening the Campus: Institutional Environmental Change at Tulane University.” Dr. Allen continues to serve on the executive committee of the UNCG Sustainability Council. He is also a member of the board of directors of Population Connection.
Dr. Allen co-founded and for five years chaired the Ecocriticism Study Group (ESG) of the American Musicological Society, and he co-founded and chaired the Ecomusicology Special Interest Group (ESIG) of the Society for Ethnomusicology. These two organizations co-host and co-established the “Ecomusicologies” conferences and the Ecomusicology Review. Dr. Allen’s conference presentations on ecomusicology include venues in music scholarship (e.g., the American Musicological Society and the Society for Ethnomusicology), interdisciplinary studies (e.g., 19th-Century Studies Association), and environmental studies (e.g., American Society for Environmental History, Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences). He has given invited lectures at institutions in North America, Europe, and Asia.
A number of Dr. Allen’s publications are publicly available here.
After completing a dissertation on Beethoven reception in nineteenth-century Italy, Dr. Allen has continued to develop this unusual field of reception studies. He has delivered conference presentations and invited talks and has published papers on the topic. He is slowly working on a book tentatively entitled Fidelio in Italy: Beethoven Reception, Historiography, and the Crisis of 19th-Century Opera. Dr. Allen travels to Italy frequently and offers a unique travel class that combines music and sustainability studies.
Aaron is originally from rural West Virginia, and his interests as an outdoorsman, environmentalist, and woodworker result from his time on the family farm, where he recently hand built a solar-powered log cabin with and for his parents.