University of Wisconsin–Madison

Thomas Kivi

TA: History 102, Professor Enstad

Advisor: Nan Enstad

Office: 4260 Mosse Humanities
Mailbox: 5090 Mosse Humanities
Phone: 608.890.3308
Office Hours: Thursdays 2:30-4:30



I currently study sound-recording practices in the early-to-mid twentieth century. I am particularly curious about how the practice of fieldwork with the phonograph authorized the production of ethnographic knowledge about “folk” (now often referred to as “vernacular”) music. My MA thesis (in-progress) examines the interpersonal and institutional politics of phonographic fieldwork in 1940s Wisconsin. By taking the behind-the-scenes labor and correspondence for the Wisconsin Folk Music Project (1940-1946) as my object of study, my MA demonstrates how the rich archive of Wisconsin “folk” and “Indian” music at the Library of Congress was shaped by state, national, and transnational institutions, the musicological imagination of the individual fieldworker, and the political economy of vernacular musical performance.


B.A., 2004-08 University of Wisconsin-Madison (History/Philosophy)
2006-07 University of Warwick-Coventry, England (Phil. dept. exchange program)
2008-13 *Recording/touring Americana singer-songwriter*
2014-16 Saint Louis University (2-years graduate seminars)


  • United States History

M.A. Title

  • “Governmental Ethnography: Recording Wisconsin “Folk” and “Indian” Musics in the 1940s”

Selected Publications

  • “An Environmental Playlist of the Twentieth Century,” Edge Effects (Sept. 28, 2017) [article]
  • “Before the Movies: American Magic Lantern Entertainment and the Nation’s First Great Screen Artist, Joseph Boggs Beale,” American Nineteenth-Century History Vol. 17, Issue 1 (2016) [book review]
  • “Time to Throw out the Broomstick,” SIUE Women’s Studies Program blog (Oct. 1, 2014) [article]

Courses Taught as TA

  • History 102 – U.S. History: Civil War to Present
  • ILS 201 – Western Culture: Science, Technology, and Philosophy