About Ryan

Ryan Bunch

I'm interested in the critical study of childhood in relation to music, performance, popular media, and literature. My research has focused especially on musical theater, culminating in my forthcoming book Oz and the Musical: Performing the American Fairy Tale from Oxford University Press. I'm currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers-University Camden, where I'm writing a dissertation on popular children's music in the United States. In this work, I'm exploring contemporary and historical beliefs about a natural relationship between children and musicality as revealed through children's song repertoires, musical instruments, musical toys, and lived experiences. My methods combine historical musicology, textual analysis, ethnography, autoethnography, memory, performance studies, material culture, and archival research with theories of childhood, children's voices, the body, performativity, queer temporality, race, gender, disability, utopianism, and make-believe.

I’ve been a puppeteer, a music director of school and community theater musicals, a singing teacher, and an education writer for Opera Philadelphia’s award-winning Sounds of Learning study guides. I’ve taught courses at Rutgers University-Camden, Temple University, the Community College of Philadelphia, and Holy Family University.