Global and International Studies IUB

IU Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology Colloquium Series, Dr. Alex E. Chávez, speaker

Dr. Alex E. Chávez
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
University of Notre Dame

Light reception to follow

SOUNDS OF A PRECARIOUS PRESENT OR POST-MEXICO IN THE OFFING…: AURALITY, POLITICS, AND THE NATIONAL SPACE

Dr. Chávez’s presentation lends an ethnographic ear to “Mexican culture”—as a locus of aesthetics, performance, and signifying practices—to discuss how sonic geographies mobilize physical and cultural claims of belonging. Drawing on two sets of ethnographic data from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, Dr. Chávez makes a case for how ideologies of sound produce competing imagined communities at multiple scales of time and space in relation to the nation-state. He first draws from his well-established research in the Sierra Gorda of Guanajuato in central Mexico on the musical tradition of huapango arribeño and the ethos associated with this music as part of the Mexican State’s nationalist discourse. He then looks to his current ethnographic research in Chicago Latino neighborhoods, which bridges the fields of urban anthropology and sound studies. Both data sets, he argues, evidence sonic localisms that constitute an “aural public sphere” that mitigates: (1) the social reproduction of valuable forms of inequality that render communities disposable and moveable; (2) the cultural erasure that accompanies folklorization and gentrification; and (3) the racial politics that undergird the desirability of “culture” and urban space. Aural modes of attention—in everyday life and in scholarship—circulate within social fields of meaning and experience shaped by power, politics, and economy, thus Dr. Chávez considers sound not just a sonorous phenomenon, but a cultural discourse that is historically contingent and, in the case of the U.S.-Mexico transnational formation, formed and informed by the spatial politics of national borders.

Start
Thursday September 14, 2017 03:30 PM
End
Thursday September 14, 2017 05:00 PM
Location
Hoagy Carmichael Room, Morrison Hall
Contact Email
mmelhous@indiana.edu
view calendar