Professor of Music & Chair of Department
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Margaret Sarkissian earned her B.Mus. from King's College, University of London, and her M.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
As an ethnomusicologist with training in both musicology and anthropology, Professor Sarkissian is particularly interested in the ways music is used as a marker of various kinds of identity (in particular ethnic and gender identity). Her field research has concentrated on issues of identity among minority groups in Malaysia and among Armenian immigrants in Toronto and Chicago. She has worked extensively with the Malaysian-Portuguese and Straits-born Chinese (also called Baba-Nyonya or Peranakan) communities of Malacca, Malaysia.
Sarkissian's book, D'Albuquerque's Children: Performing Tradition in Malaysia's Portuguese Settlement, explores the medium of the tourist show (in which domain she has extensive practical experience as an accordionist). She has also done research in Japan and on Islamic popular music in Malaysia.