Monday, April 17, 2017
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Where: 1810 Hinman Avenue, Room 1-4, Evanston, IL 60208 map it
Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students
Group: Anthropology Department
Category: Lectures & Meetings
Dr. Chávez’s lecture 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 current ethnographic research in Chicago Latino neighborhoods that bridges the fields of urban anthropology and sound studies. This recent work traces sounds—broadly conceived from language, music, and everyday soundscapes—that broadcast the story of transnational Mexican migration and settlement within the localized contexts of segregation and urban renewal. 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/deportable 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 contoured 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.
Co-sponsored by Latina and Latino Studies