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Theo Cateforis

Theo Cateforis

Associate Professor, Music History and Cultures / Director of Undergraduate Studies in Fine Arts
Art & Music Histories

308 J Bowne Hall

Research and Teaching Interests

Theo Cateforis’s research is in the areas of popular music, American music and film music, with a specific focus on the history of rock music. He has published and presented widely on various rock genres and movements, such as new wave, post-punk, math rock and riot grrrl. He has also explored issues of youth and gender in teen movies and emerging adulthood in indie rock music of the 2000s. His most current research is on 1990s’ alternative rock.


Ph.D. Music History, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 2000


Undergraduate Courses
  • American Popular Music
  • European and American Music Since 1800
  • The History of Jazz
  • Indie Music
  • Junior Seminar: Musicology in Action
  • Music and Gender
  • Music and Media
  • Music and Sports
  • Music of the 1960s
  • Music Videos: From MTV to YouTube
  • Rock Music

Graduate Courses
  • Music, Space and Place
  • Popular Music Studies

Selected Publications


The Rock History Reader (Three Editions). New York: Routledge, 2007, 2013, 2019.

Are We Not New Wave? Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011.

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

 “Kid-Sized: Representing Childhood in Wes Anderson and Mark Mothersbaugh’s The Royal Tenenbaums.” In Transmedia Directors: Creative Voice Through Sound, Music, and Image, eds. Carol Vernallis, Lisa Perrott and Holly Rogers. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, forthcoming.

“Time to Pretend: The Emerging Adulthood of Indie Rock.” Popular Music & Society. Forthcoming, 2019.

“Total Trash: Analysis and Post-Punk Music.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 5 (1993): 39-57.

  • Reprinted in Journal of Popular Music Studies 30, no. 4 (2018): 95-112, as part of the Journal’s “From the Vaults” classic essays series, along with Elizabeth Lindau’s “‘We Can Bring It Back Again’: Revisiting Cateforis in 2018,” pp. 113-20, and Cateforis’ “Response to Elizabeth Lindau,” pp. 121-22.

 “Between Artifice and Authenticity: Music and Media in Wag the Dog.” In The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media, eds. Carol Vernallis, John Richardson, Amy Herzog, 369-78. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Book Review Essays

Grove Dictionary of American Music, Second Edition (Amerigrove), Popular Music after 1950 – Review Essay, Journal of the Society for American Music, 9, no. 4 (2015): 505-12.

 33 1/3 Series – Review Essay, American Music, 32, no. 4 (Winter 2014): 481-88.

Awards, Honors and Grants

Syracuse University

 Humanities Center Grant ($2750) to support Syracuse Symposium “Stories” Event, 2019

 Humanities Center Grant ($1500) to support Syracuse Symposium “Networks” Event, 2016

 Mellon Humanities Corridor Grant ($12,500), Mobilizing Music: Gender and Performativity (co-organizer with Amanda Eubanks Winkler), Syracuse University mini-seminars 2013-14

 College of Arts & Sciences, Ray Smith Symposium award ($10,000), Mellon Humanities Corridor Grant ($5000), and Syracuse Symposium funds ($2000) to support Music of Conflict and Reconciliation (co-organizer with Carol Babiracki, Amanda Eubanks Winkler and Stephen Meyer), Ray Smith Symposium Syracuse University, 2010-11

 College of Arts & Sciences, Publication subvention for Are We Not New Wave? Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s, 2010

 Mellon Humanities Corridor Grant and Syracuse Symposium ($15,000) Forum on Music and Sound in Film (co-organizer with Stephen Meyer), Syracuse University, 2009

 Meredith Professors Teaching Recognition Award, 2008

 College of Arts & Sciences, Publication subvention for The Rock History Reader, 2006