Guest lecturer Alex E. Chávez, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, presents a virtual author event, Verses and Flows: Migrant Lives and the Sounds of Crossing, at 4 p.m. Eastern time.
In his award-winning book Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño (Duke 2017), Dr. Alex E. Chávez explores the contemporary politics of Mexican migrant cultural expression manifest in the sounds and aural poetics of huapango arribeño, a musical genre originating from north-central Mexico. In this presentation, he draws on this work to address how Mexican migrants voice desires of recognition and connection through performance, and the politics such desires attain amidst the transnational context of migrant deportability. As a researcher, artist and participant, Chávez has consistently crossed the boundary between scholar and performer in the realms of academic research and publicly engaged work as a musician and producer. In this presentation, he draws on these experiences to address the politics of his intellectual and creative work and how he engages both to theorize around the political efficacy of sound-based practices, the “voice,” and the disciplinary futures of borderlands anthropology.
Ethnographer/composer/academic/musician, Alex E. Chávez is the Nancy O'Neill Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, where he is also a faculty fellow of the Institute for Latino Studies. His research and teaching explore Latina/o expressive culture in everyday life as manifested through music, language, performance and sound. His work bridges scholarship and creative expression as a means to explore how performance intersects with larger social concerns surrounding race, and the intimacies that bind everyday life across physical and cultural borders. In this regard, he has consistently crossed the boundary between performer and ethnographer in the realms of both academic research and publicly engaged work as an artist and producer.
His book Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño (Duke 2017) is the 2018 winner of the Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology's Book Prize, and the Association for Latina and Latino Anthropologists Book Award; in addition, it was short-listed for the prestigious Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology.
An accomplished musician and multi-instrumentalist, Chávez has recorded and toured with his own music projects, composed documentary scores (most recently the Emmy Award-winning El Despertar ), and collaborated with acclaimed artists — including Antibalas, Grammy Award-winners Quetzal, and Latin Grammy Award-nominated Sones de México. In 2016, he produced the Smithsonian Folkways album Serrano de Corazón (2016).
Currently, he is co-editing a volume provisionally titled Ethnographic Refusals/Unruly Latinidades — a project that grows out of an Advanced Seminar he co-chaired at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico on the topic of Ethnographies of Contestation and Resilience in Latinx America. He is also curating the liner notes for the forthcoming 8th studio album by Quetzal, which is to be released on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. He currently serves as a Governor for the Chicago Chapter Board of the Recording Academy.
Attendance is free, but online registration is required. Registered participants will receive an email with the Zoom meeting link approximately 3 days before the event.
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