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Anna Stirr, Ph.D.

Dr. Stirr is Associate Professor in Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Anna Stirr

Contact Information

Email:,create new email Tel. (808) 956-9087.

Dr. Stirr’s Website

Educational Background

  • B.A., Music and Religious Studies, Lawrence University, 2002
  • M.A., Ethnomusicology, Columbia University, 2005
  • Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, Columbia University, 2009


Anna’s research focuses on South Asia, particularly on Nepal and the Himalayan region. She is currently working on two projects that deal with love, intimacy, and politics in Nepal. The first looks at improvised dohori question-answer songs as culturally intimate, gendered expressions of ideas of nation and heritage, within a cycle of migration and media circulation that spans the globe. The second chronicles the history of Nepal’s politically oppositional “progressive song” from the 1960s to the present, with a focus on ideas of love, development, and communist thought as interrelated ways of imagining a better future. Articles from these projects have appeared in various journals and edited volumes. Anna also maintains an active research interest in the relationship between music, religion, politics and public culture in South Asia and the Himalayas.

Along with teaching and researching about music, Anna is also active as a performer. After a bachelor’s degree in western classical flute performance, she has studied Hindustani classical bansuri flute with Steve Gorn and Jeevan Ale, and has learned the folk style of bansuri performance through musical interaction with many Nepali performers during her fieldwork. As a singer, she has studied the Hindustani classical tradition with Prabhu Raj Dhakal in Nepal and Ustad Mehboob Nadeem in London, and she learned Nepali folk and dohori song as she learned the flute styles, in the informal oral tradition. Her formal instruction in Nepali folk music has been with Khadga Bahadur Budha Magar on the madal drum, and she believes that knowledge of percussion provides a firm foundation for a broader grasp of any musical style. She is working on compiling and translating the Nepali folk music teaching materials created by her teachers as well as the late musicologist Subi Shah.

Prior to joining the UH faculty she held postdoctoral positions in ethnomusicology and anthropology at Oxford University, and in Asian Studies at Leiden University. As a teacher, Anna is excited to introduce students to the diverse worlds of Asian performing arts, and to broader themes in Asian cultures and history, from various perspectives in the social sciences and humanities.


  • ASAN 101 Introduction to Asian Studies
  • ASAN 310 Asian Humanities
  • ASAN 320I Asian Nation Studies: South Asia
  • ASAN 320Z Asian Nation Studies: Himalayas
  • ASAN 411 Islam in Contemporary Asia (concurrent with ASAN 611)
  • ASAN 478/MUS 478H: Music in South Asia
  • ASAN 491G Inter-Asia Migration and Mobility
  • ASAN 600I Approaches to Asian Studies: South Asia
  • ASAN 611 Islam in Contemporary Asia
  • ASAN 620I Asia, Arts, and the Public Sphere
  • ASAN 623 Gender and Asian Performing Arts
  • ASAN 654 South Asia Now
  • ASAN 750 Research Seminar in Asian Studies
  • Recent independent studies have focused on South Asian Dance (ASAN 499, 699), Modern Tibet (ASAN 699), Modern Nepal (ASAN 699), and Nepali Language (IPLL 101-102)

Selected Publications

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