Daniel Cavicchi

At RISD for over two decades, Daniel Cavicchi has served as professor and head of the History, Philosophy, and the Social Sciences department; dean of liberal arts; associate provost, interim provost and vice provost. Cavicchi is a cultural historian and ethnographer whose research explores audiences, enthusiasm and the arts. His books include Listening and Longing: Music Lovers in the Age of Barnum; Tramps Like Us: Music and Meaning Among Springsteen Fans; and My Music: Explorations of Music in Daily Life, with Charles Keil and Susan D. Crafts. His essays have appeared in anthologies such as Music and Sustainable Cultures, Fandom: Identities and Communities in a Mediated World and the Oxford History of Popular Print Culture, as well as in a range of print and online publications, from Naxos Musicology International to Fast Company.

Cavicchi’s public work includes developing curricula for Experience Music Project and PBS, as well as curating exhibits for the Grammy Museum and the Grammy Museum Mississippi, including Songs of Conscience, Sounds of Freedom and Culture Shock. With furniture maker Dale Broholm, he developed the Witness Tree Project, a history and design curriculum with the National Park Service. He was the inaugural editor of Wesleyan University Press’s Music/Interview Series and served on the editorial boards for American Music and Ethnography; he is currently on the editorial board of Participations: Journal of Audience and Reception Studies.

Cavicchi is the recipient of both the President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from Brown University and the John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching from RISD. His book Listening and Longing: Music Lovers in the Age of Barnum won the 2012 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award as well as the Peter C. Rollins Book Prize from the Northeast Popular Culture Association.

Academic areas of interest


  • Audience studies
  • American cultural history
  • Histories of fandom
  • Popular music studies
  • Public history and education
a photo portrait of Daniel Cavicchi