Sean Williams teaches ethnomusicology, the study of music in cultural context. She plays more than 30 musical instruments and has traveled to—and lived in—many parts of the world. She teaches with colleagues from all over campus, and takes students to Ireland in her "Ireland in History and Memory" program every three years. Her 2011 book, Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song Man, won the top award in her field. Her work focuses on the many ways in which music and culture intersect through spirituality, urbanization, food, immigration, gender, language, and politics.
B.A., Music, University of California, Berkeley, 1981; M.A., Ethnomusicology, University of Washington, 1985; Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, University of Washington, 1990.