Dr John Morgan O'Connell MA (Oxon), MA (UCLA), PhD (UCLA), AGSM

Dr John Morgan O'Connell MA (Oxon), MA (UCLA), PhD (UCLA), AGSM


+44 (0)29 2087 0394

I am an Irish ethnomusicologist with a specialist interest in cultural history. I have recently completed a monograph on music and commemoration as it relates to the Gallipoli Campaign from the perspective of the Australians and the Turks, the British and the Germans, amongst others (see O’Connell 2017). I also explore the issues of militarism and orientalism with respect to Irish recruits in the military catastrophe, my own family in particular having an on going connection with the Ottoman Empire. Some of my ancestors were administrators and soldiers in Ottoman territories, and others were diplomats and doctors in the Ottoman capital (see Figure 1 for an Ottoman medal awarded to an ancestor). Significantly, a number of my relatives were either killed or wounded in the Gallipoli Campaign (see Figure 2 for a wartime photograph taken by my grandfather).

This research builds upon my established interest in the music of the Middle East. It also draws upon my continued research on music in conflict zones. These academic strands have resulted in significant outputs in the form of a monograph (see O’Connell 2013) and a collection (see O’Connell Ed. 2010) respectively. I am currently working on a project that concerns music in Ireland during the Great War. I also aim to complete a study on music in the late Ottoman Empire. In addition, I have conducted impact related research in the Muslim world in association with the Aga Khan Humanities Project (see O’Connell 2015) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (2014).

Previous academic positions

Permanent Appointments:

  • Otago University (Lecturer)
  • University of Limerick (Senior Lecturer)
  • Cardiff University (Reader)

Visiting Appointments:

  • Queen's University (Visiting Lecturer)
  • Brown University (Visiting Professor)
  • Haverford College (Distinguished Visiting Professor), among others

Speaking engagements

Recent (as Invited Speaker):

  • Silk Road Convention (Beijing)
  • Music and Emotion Colloquium (St. Louis)
  • Mugam Symposium (Baku)
  • Meter in Ottoman Music (M√ľnster)
  • Music and Architecture (London)
  • Jewish Music Studies (Hanover)
  • Music in Conflict (London), among others

I offer a range of lectures and seminars. At an undergraduate level, I teach the following lectures: ‘Music in Human Life’ (Year 1), ‘Music in Cross-Cultural Perspective’ (Year 2) and ‘Project in Ethnomusicology’ (Year 3). At a postgraduate level, I teach the following seminars: ‘The Anthropology of Music’, ‘Methods in Ethnomusicology’, ‘The World of Music’, ‘Doing Ethnomusicology’, ‘The Language of Music’ and ‘Music and Discourse’. I also offer specialist seminars that concern music in the Middle East and music in the Celtic world. My doctoral students are currently completing research on musical topics in the Celtic world, the Balkans, and Turkey.

My research concerns the musical traditions of the Muslim world, with a secondary area of expertise in the musical traditions of Europe. Other areas of interest include the significance of hermeneutic theory and historical ethnography for ethnomusicology. In 2013, I published a monograph on Turkish style in the early-Republican period (1923-1938). In 2010, I edited a scholarly collection that concerns music and conflict in a global perspective. Further, I have recently published chapters on music and humanism, music and classicism, and music and architecture. Having submitted for publication my latest book on music and commemoration in the Gallipoli Campaign (contract signed November, 2016), I am now undertaking a study of music in Ireland during the Great War.

I have acted as a music consultant for a number of international organizations, being awarded a Senior Fulbright Fellowship in association with the Aga Khan Humanities Project (2002) and a Getty Foundation Grant to participate in its International Summer Institute (2006). I was also awarded an AHRC fellowship (2014) for a project entitled ‘The God Article’. I have hosted a variety of international conferences including the 15th ICTM International Colloquium (2004) and the annual conference of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology (2008). I was reviews editor for the journal Ethnomusicology. I am currently a member of the editorial boards for the SOAS Musicology Series, Ethnomusicology Forum and the Journal of the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Association, amongst others.


Academic Schools