Faculty and Staff
Assistant Professor / Music History
School of Music
School of Music Room 317
Sarah F. Williams specializes in early modern (c. 1580-1650) English music and culture
including seventeenth-century popular music, theatrical music and broadside balladry.
Her work focuses on musical representations of witchcraft and magic, economies of
gender in early modern European culture, the 16th- and 17th-century English cheap
print trade, as well as emo rock and expressions of masculinity in contemporary American
Dr. Williams' book, Damnable Practises: Performing Witches and Dangerous Women in the Seventeenth Century Broadside Ballad and its Music is forthcoming with Ashgate Press (Farnham, UK). Her publications have appeared in several top-tier musicology and humanities journals as well as essay collections published by Ashgate, Brill, the University of Indiana Press, and Routledge. She has presented papers at history, literary studies, and musicological conferences throughout the United States and Europe and was a selected participant in the Folger Shakespeare Library’s 2005 Faculty Seminar on early modern English music in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Williams teaches undergraduate music history and graduate seminars on English music, renaissance music, and baroque music in the School of Music and serves as affiliate faculty in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the Women's Museum of California (formerly the San Diego Women’s History Museum and Educational Center) from 2006-2007. She is a member of the Society for Seventeenth Century Music, the American Musicological Society, the Renaissance Society of America, and the Shakespeare Association of America.
Ph.D. Northwestern University (historical musicology)
M.M. Northwestern University (historical musicology)
B.A. Beloit College (Piano Performance/Literary Studies)
• Tudor-Stuart music and culture
• 17th century popular music, broadside balladry, and print culture
• Gender studies
• Early modern English witchcraft
• Baroque opera
• American popular music, expressions of masculinity in post-1980 punk rock
• (forthcoming book) Damnable Practises: Performing Witches and Dangerous Women in the Seventeenth
Century Broadside Ballad and its Music (Farnham, UK: Ashgate Press, 2014).
• (forthcoming article) "To the Tune of Witchcraft: Witchcraft, Popular Song, and
the early modern
English broadside ballad." Journal of Seventeenth-Century Music 19 (2013).
• "'A Swearing and Blaspheming Wretch': Representing Witchcraft and Excess in Early
English Broadside Balladry and Popular Song." Journal of Musicological Research 30/4 (2011): 309-356.
• Patrick Spedding and Paul Watt, eds., Bawdy Songbooks of the Romantic Period, 4 vols.
(London: Pickering and Chatto, 2011), Journal of the American Musicological Society (2012).
• “Emo.” In The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, vol. 8, ed. John Shepherd,
David Horn, & Dave Laing (London: Continuum Press, 2011), 201-203.
• “Hardcore.” In The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, vol. 8, ed. John Shepherd,
David Horn, & Dave Laing (London: Continuum Press, 2011), 257-260.
• “‘Singe the Enchantment for Sleepe’: Music and bewitched sleep in early modern English drama.”
In Spirits Unseen: The Representation of Subtle Bodies in Early Modern European Culture, ed. Christine
Göttler and Wolfgang Neuber (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 179-196.
• “‘A Walking Open Wound’: Emo rock and the ‘crisis’ of masculinity in America.” In Oh boy!: Masculinities
and Popular Music, ed. Freya Jarman-Ivens (New York & London: Routledge, 2007), 145-160.
Awards and Honors
• National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend, 2010
• Provost’s Humanities Grant, 2010
• American Musicological Society, Jan La Rue Award for Research Travel, 2009
• Josephine Abney Faculty Fellowship Award (Women's and Gender Studies Program), 2009