About Cristina L Ruotolo





Humanities DepartmentCollege of Liberal and Creative Arts


Humanities (HUM)


Office Hours: 

Monday: 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Tuesday: 3:00 pm-4:00 pm
Thursday: 5:30 pm-6:30 pm

Office Hours (Additional Info): 

You may schedule Zoom appointments for Monday and Tuesday using the calendar link above (or go to https://faculty.sfsu.edu/~ruotolo/booking/cal).


At SF State Since:



I'm a professor in the Humanities program (now part of the School of Humanities and Liberal Studies, of which I am currently Director), where I teach undergraduate and graduate courses focusing on American culture, music and society; literary and musical modernisms; literary and cultural theory. I recently spent 18 months in Ghana, teaching American literature and studying West African literature and culture. I am currently developing courses that are comparative not only in bringing American and W. African content together, but also in creating online spaces for interactions between students at SF State and at the University of Ghana.

My scholarly work has focused on music's place in American cultures and imaginations. In a series of articles and then my first book, Sounding Real: Musicality and American Literature at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, I explored a pivotal moment in American music (with the rise of Tin Pan Alley, ragtime, "Indianist" composers, and American divas) as it was registered by and in American fiction. I am currently working on a new book (tentively called Democratizing Music: Émigré European Modernists and American Musical Literacy) that traces the efforts of a group of avant-garde émigré musicians to inform and reform American musical literacy in the decade immediately following their arrival in the 1930s.

My interest in music stems from my lifelong practice as a violinist and chamber musician. I have a Masters in Music Performance from the New England Conservatory and worked professionally in various orchestsras before, in part because of repetitive injuries to my hand, deciding to switch gears and head back to school. I received my Ph.D. from Yale in English Literature in 1997, and have been teaching at SF State ever since.