Tomie Hahn

Associate Professor
Department of the Arts

Biography & Research

Tomie Hahn is an artist and ethnographer. She is a performer of shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), nihon buyo (Japanese traditional dance), and experimental performance. Her research focuses on the transmission of embodied cultural knowledge, the senses, and creativity. Tomie’s research spans a range of area studies and interests, including: Japanese traditional performing arts, Monster Truck rallies, issues of display, gesture, and relationships of technology and culture. In 2008 her book, Sensational Knowledge: Embodying Culture through Japanese Dance (Wesleyan University Press) was awarded the Alan P. Merriam prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Tomie received a Masters degree in Urban Ethnomusicology from New York University and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from Wesleyan University. She has performed at such venues as Red Cat (Roy & Edna Disney/ CAL Arts Theater), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Wexner Center, and Te Papa Tongarewa Museum (NZ). In 2008 Tomie was an invited to collaborate in a think tank on embodied cognition at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, sponsored by ZiF and the Mind Science Foundation. Currently Tomie is an Associate Professor in the Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.


Hahn, T. 2007. Sensational Knowledge: Embodying Culture through Japanese Dance. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press.

Hahn, T. 2006. “ ‘It’s the RUSH’: Sites of the Sensually Extreme.” The Drama Review: Journal of Performance Studies. Vol. 150, no. 2 (T190), Summer. 2006

Hahn, T. 2006. “Emerging voices—encounters with reflexivity,” Atlantis: A Women’s Studies Journal /Revue d’etudes sur les femmes, Special issue: Women, Arts, Politics/Power. Published by The Institute for the Study of Women, Mt. Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Canada.

Hahn, T. 2003. “Shifting Selves: Embodied Metaphors in Nihon Buyo.” In Women’s Voices Across Musical Worlds, edited by Jane Bernstein, 308-325. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.

Hahn, T. and C. Bahn. 2002. “Pikapika – The Collaborative Composition of an Interactive Sonic Character” in Organised Sound: An International Journal of Music Technology, vol. 7-3: 229-238. 2002.

Hahn, T. 2002. “Singing a Dance: navigating the musical soundscape in nihon buyo” Asian Music Journal vol. 33, no: 1: 61-74.