Christopher Witulski earned his PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Florida in 2014 and taught at Florida State University before coming to the BGSU College of Musical Arts in 2016. He also holds masters degrees in ethnomusicology and music theory. His research engages changes in sacred performance practices in contemporary Morocco and across North Africa. His current book manuscript, The Gnawa Lions: Opportunity and Authenticity in a Moroccan Ritual Music, explores how musicians for a trance-based sub-Saharan healing ceremony in Morocco negotiate their listeners’ tastes, global markets, and the aesthetics required for productive ritual. This work is based on two and a half years of living in North and West Africa, completing ethnographic fieldwork that was supported in part by a Fulbright and Title VI Area Studies fellowships. His writing appears in Ethnomusicology Forum, the Journal of North African Studies, the Yale Journal of Music and Religion, the International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, and the encyclopedia Music in American Culture.
Dr. Witulski is an active performer of Arabic, American old time, and classical music on ‘ud, banjo, and violin, having performed in the Fez Festival of Sacred Music, across Morocco, and in professional orchestras in Florida and Georgia. Other interests include theoretical and computational approaches to popular and world music, fieldwork and research in West Africa, and the relationship between ethics and aesthetics in popular manifestations of religious music.