Sarah Plovnick is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of California, Berkeley. She uses ethnographic methods to study the role of audio communication in contentious political environments. Her dissertation, entitled “Sounding Through the Firewall: A Narrative of Audio Communication Between Taiwan and China,” examines the recent history of the Taiwan Strait (1949-today) from the perspective of music and sound.
Originally from the Boston area, she completed a B.A. in Music and Comparative Arts at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to her doctoral studies, she spent a year in the Dominican Republic, during which she studied the intersection of jazz with Afro-Dominican musics and taught youth music at the DREAM Project. She completed her M.A. in ethnomusicology at UC Berkeley in 2019, with a focus on Puerto Rican music in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes. She is a co-founder of the Berkeley Computational Music Research working group.
Her research has been supported by Fulbright-Hays DDRA, the Taiwan Ministry of Education, the Taiwan Center for Chinese Studies, the Global Taiwan Institute, the UC Berkeley Center for Chinese Studies, UC Berkeley Global International and Area Studies, the Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the US Dept. of Education’s Foreign Language and Area Studies program (FLAS), and Fulbright-mtvU.