Bret D. Woods

Bret D. Woods, Ph.D.

John M. Long School of Music
Smith 223
(334) 670-6178

Bret Woods is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at Troy University and the Coordinator of the Musicology/World Music department for the School of Music. He teaches world music cultures, Western music history, history of popular music, advanced music technology, and he directs world music workshop. Bret also oversees the World Music department’s traditional music ensembles, which currently include two performance ensembles--Celtic Ensemble and Sangeet Ensemble--and two additional folk music offerings--Chinese Folk Ensemble and Folk Music of the Americas Ensemble. Bret received his B.M. from Nazareth College of Rochester (NY), and both his M.M. and Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Florida State University (FL). 

Bret is an active ethnomediologist, critical theorist, author, and filmmaker whose work has been published in EthnomusicologyFight On!Foundation for Endangered LanguagesInternational Journal of Anthropological StudiesInterventions, and MUSICultures, and Oxford University Press. His documentary film work has been featured around the country at festivals such as Queens World Film Festival and the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (CIMM Fest). Bret is an active member of the American Anthropological Association (AAA) and the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM) and has served as a consulting editor for the British Journal of Culture, Health, and Sexuality. His research interests include genre theory, media studies, documentary film, folklore and traditional music, decolonization, indigeneity, repatriation, and archival theory. 

Bret served as Visiting Assistant Professor as well as Research Library Associate at Florida State University, and prior to his graduate work he spent several years teaching, performing, and developing music programs in K-12 schools in southern New York and southeastern Colorado. Bret has conducted fieldwork throughout Nova Scotia, primarily in Cape Breton, as well as along the Florida Gulf Coast and in the Pacific Northwest. His dissertation, Bakhtin and Genre: Musical-Social Interaction at the Cape Breton Milling Frolic, explores traditional Gaelic folk song using a Bakhtinian approach to genre and musical-social interaction. His recent book, The Oxford Handbook of Musical Repatriation, co-edited with Frank Gunderson (Florida State University) and Rob Lancefield (Wesleyan), is an interdisciplinary volume of thirty-nine seminal archive repatriation projects that explore the present state of sound archives, ownership, and intangible cultural heritage. Bret’s forthcoming book project explores ethnography and decolonization, taking a critical look at the scope and future of archive-oriented scholarship. 

An active performer, Bret has served as drummer, music arranger, and programmer for the Washington-based punk band “Human Skab,” where he worked extensively with “outsider” musician Travis Roberts (the band's front man) since the 2009 revival tour that brought back the band. This performance and research culminated in the award winning documentary film Human Skab (2012) created and directed by Bret Woods together with co-director Frank Gunderson. Bret also served as the drummer for the zilipendwa group “Rhumba Kali,” and recorded the award winning album Sasa Nifanye Nini? with Mlimani Park Orchestra stars Hassan Rehani Bitchuka and Ali Jamwaka (Tanzania), and Frank Gunderson (Florida State) and Damascus Kafumbe (Middlebury). Bret played button accordion, whistle, and bodhrán in the Irish traditional band "Hearthstone" (2012-2016). In 2017, he and his partner Jaime Hammack formed the duo "hun har heste", through which they perform their own arrangements of traditional tunes and songs. Bret regularly hosts traditional sessions locally and participates in regional quarterly traditional music gatherings.