Joan Titus

Joan Titus

  • Associate Professor
  • Music - Musicology
  • 252 Music Building
  • 336-334-3301

Joan Titus, Associate Professor in Musicology, holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Musicology with concentrations in Film Studies and Russian Studies from the Ohio State University; and a B.A.M. from the University of Arizona in Music History, with a minor in Art History. Her research topics include music in screen media, cultural politics, and music and gender. Her most current projects address cultural histories of scoring for Soviet cinema, global identities in music and cinema, and women’s musical performance in contemporary Morocco.

Dr. Titus is currently working on several projects on Russian cinema/sound/music, including a trilogy of books on Dmitry Shostakovich’s film music career. The first of these books, The Early Film Music of Dmitry Shostakovich (Oxford University Press, 2016) examines narration and politics in Shostakovich’s early film scores. The next two books address Shostakovich’s film music career during Stalinism, and during the Thaw and Stagnation through 1971. She also has published on filmed opera, and transnational musics in Southwest Native American dance cultures (see “Select Recent Publications”). Dr. Titus frequently gives scholarly and invited presentations at conferences in the U.S. and abroad, including the American Musicological Society, Society for Ethnomusicology, Society for American Music, International Musicological Society, Society for Cinema and Media Studies, and the Southern Conference on Slavic Studies (see “Select Recent Presentations”). Her research has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship (2017– 2018), NEH Summer Stipend (2016), the AMS 75 PAYS Publication Subvention, multiple fellowships from the U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS), and other institutional awards.

Dr. Titus has taught a diverse range of graduate seminars and undergraduate courses on Russian and Soviet music, music and cinema, music and politics, music of the world, history of rock, and music of the Western European/American traditions. She developed the undergraduate General Education course “Music for Film,” and teaches graduate seminars on music and media, music in Russia, and transnational politics and music in Russia, United States, and North Africa (see “Courses Taught”). She also serves on the Russian Studies Committee at UNCG, is the current Reviews Editor for The Journal of Film Music, and serves as co-president of the Sound and Music Studies SIG for the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Select Recent Publications


The Early Film Music of Dmitry Shostakovich. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

For book information and the OUP Companion Site click here.Link opens in new window

Articles and Book Chapters

The Nose, the Met, and American Reception.” (In Russian) In Dmitry Shostakovich: Issledovanie i matieriali [Dmitry Shostakovich: Research and Materials], edited by Lidia Ader. Moscow: DSCH Press, forthcoming, 2017.

“Silents, Sound, and Modernism in Dmitry Shostakovich’s Score to the New Babylon (1928–1929).” In Sound, Speech, and Music in Soviet and Post-Soviet Cinema, edited by Masha Salazkina and Lilya Kaganovsky, 38–59. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 2014.

“Dmitry Shostakovich as Film Theorist.” In Music and Politics in Twentieth-Century Europe: Essays in Memory of Neil Edmunds, edited by Pauline Fairclough. London: Ashgate Press, 2012.

Waila as Transnational Practice.” In Transnational Encounters. Music and Performance at the U.S.-Mexico Border, edited by Alejandro Madrid. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Essay and Translation of “About the Music to the New Babylon” by Dmitry Shostakovich. In Film Music: Source Readings, 1910–1951, edited by James Wierzbicki, Colin Roust, and Nathan Platte. London: Routledge Press, 2011.

“Socialist Realism, Modernism, and Dmitry Shostakovich’s Odna (Alone, 1931).” In Shostakovich Studies 2, edited by Pauline Fairclough. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Encyclopedia Entries and Reviews

“Human Rights and Music.” In The Sage Encyclopedia of Ethnomusicology, edited by Janet L. Sturman. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Forthcoming, 2017.

Review of The Struggle for Control of Soviet Music from 1932 to 1948: Socialist Realism vs. Western Formalism, by Meri Herrala. Russian Review 72, No.2 (April 2013): 317–318.

Select Recent Presentations

“Musical Mediations: The Film Music Collaborations of Leo Arnshtam and Dmitry Shostakovich”
International Musicological Society, Tokyo, Japan, 19–23 March 2017

“Experiential Knowledge and Disability: Thoughts on Modeling Trust and Empathy, and Negotiating Power in the Classroom”
Society for Ethnomusicology National Conference, Washington, DC, 10–13 November 2016

“The Arnshtam/Shostakovich Collaboration: Scoring Women in the Soviet Historical Film”
American Musicological Society National Meeting, Vancouver, Canada, 3–6 November 2016

“Шостакович между киномузыкой и “популярным”” (“Dmitry Shostakovich Between Film Music and the Popular”)
Shostakovich Memorial Conference, St. Petersburg Conservatory, St. Petersburg, Russia, 30 September 2016

“Arnshtam, Shostakovich, and the Woman’s Soviet War Film”
Invited paper for the workshop Music Memory, and Nostalgia: Towards a Theoretical Model for Music in European Cinema
Society for Cinema and Media Studies National Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, 30 March–3 April 2016

“Music and the Cinematic Soviet Woman: The Arnshtam/Shostakovich Collaboration”
Southern Conference on Slavic Studies, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 17–19 March 2016

“Scoring the Soviet Woman: Dmitry Shostakovich and Early Soviet Cinema”
Society for Cinema and Media Studies National Conference, Montréal, Canada, 25–29 March 2015

“Dmitry Shostakovich and his Girlfriends
American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 6–10 November 2013

“Mediated Identities and the Film Music of Dmitry Shostakovich”
International Musicological Society, Rome, Italy, 3–8 July 2012

“Listening to Shostakovich as Film Composer”
Music and Discourse Series, Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee, 30 January 2012

“Narrative Hearing and Shostakovich’s Alone and New Babylon
Carolina Seminars, Russia and Its Empires East and West, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 19 January 2012

“Hearing Shostakovich Through Cinema”
Two Worlds of Music, a Symposium in Honor of Margarita Mazo, The Ohio State University 7–8 May 2011

“Shostakovich, Narrative, and Film”
The American Musicological Society, Southeast Regional Meeting, Charlotte, North Carolina, 19 March 2011

“Sound, Socialism, and Modernism in Dmitry Shostakovich’s Odna (Alone, 1931)”
International Musicological Society and International Association for Music Libraries Biennial Conference, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 4–10 July 2009

“A Modernist Means to a Socialist End: Dmitry Shostakovich’s Score to Odna (Alone, 1931)”
The American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Nashville, Tennessee, 6–9 November 2008

“Waila as Transnational Practice”
The Society for American Music Annual Meeting, San Antonio, Texas, 27 February–2 March 2008

“The ‘Folk’ and Soviet Realism in the Sound Design of Odna (Alone, 1931)”
The Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, 24–28 October 2007

“A Modernist Means to a Socialist End: Dmitry Shostakovich’s Score to Odna (Alone, 1931)”
Music and the Moving Image, New York, New York, 18–20 May 2007

“The End of a “Silent” Era: Dmitri Shostakovich’s score to The New Babylon (1929)”
Popular Music in Twentieth-Century Russia and the Soviet Union, Chicago, Illinois, 26–28 January 2007

“Socialist Realism, Modernism, and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Odna (Alone, 1931)”
The International Shostakovich Centenary Conference, Bristol, England, 29 September–1 October 2006

“Identity Construction in Tohono O’odham Waila: A Perspective of the 2003 Waila Festival in Tucson, Arizona”
The Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, Tucson, Arizona, 4–7 November 2004

“Montage Shostakovich: Film, Popular Culture, and the Finale of the Piano Concerto No.1”
The Third Biennial International Conference on Twentieth-Century Music, Nottingham, England, 26–29 June 2003

“Montage Shostakovich: Film, Popular Culture, and the Finale of the Piano Concerto No.1”
The American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, 31 October–3 November 2002

Courses Taught at UNCG

Graduate Courses

  • Music 526, Overview of Western Music History
  • Music 602, Seminar in Music Research and Writing
  • Music 606 Research Seminar, “Music and Image”
  • Music 606, Research Seminar, “Music and Politics in the Russian/Soviet Imaginary”
  • Music 606, Research Seminar, “Musical Narrative in African and American Film”
  • Music 606B, Research Seminar, “Music and Narrative”
  • Music 606C, Research Seminar, “Soviet/Russian Film Music”
  • Music 606, Research Seminar, “Shostakovich and Film”
  • Music 686, Music of the Twentieth Century (Focus: Music and Media)
  • Music 706, Research Seminar, “Music and Media”

Undergraduate Courses

  • Music 120, Freshman Listening Seminar
  • International and Global Studies 213, Introduction to Russian Studies
  • Music 242, Music for Film
  • Music 332, History of Western Music II for music majors
  • Music 333, History of Western Music III for music majors
  • Music 486, Music of the Twentieth Century (Focus: Music and Media)
  • Music 492, Capstone Seminar in Music Studies