Columbia Music Scholarship Conference

Sound in Struggle: Audible Resistances

   Date: Saturday, March 30, 2019

   Venue: The Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Columbia University (directions)

   Keynote Speaker: Alex E. Chávez (University of Notre Dame)

Provisional Schedule

9:30 am - Welcome and Breakfast

10:00 am - Session 1: Amplifying Archives

Chair: Julia Doe

  • Elizabeth Weinfield, “Leonora Duarte (1610–1678): Converso Composer in Antwerp”
  • Mari Jo Velasco, “Basque Songs of Revolutionary Turmoil and the Soundscape of Town Conflict, (1791-1792)” 
  • David Floyd, “Critical Representation: Incorporating African American Art Music Composers into Theory Pedagogy” 

11:45 am - Session 2: Sound Tactics and Genre Resistance

Chair: Kevin Fellezs

  • Alexander Goncalves, “Lyric and Liberation: Radical Pragmatics in Brazilian Hip Hop” 
  • Kelsey Klotz, “Choosing to Resist: Civil Rights and the Music Industry” 
  • Benjamin Safran, “Classical Music and the Paradox of Repression in Contemporary Social Movements of the United States” 

1:00 pm - Lunch

2:15 pm - Session 3: Soundscapes of Protest

Chair: Emily Wang

  • Joe Lovell, “Sonic Resistance in the Early PRC: Subverting the Soundscape in Mao’s China” 
  • Rebecca Lentjes, “Sonic Dissent at U.S. Anti-Abortion Protests”
  • Miranda Fedock, “The Audible Transnation: Listening to WeChat as Resistance”

4:00 pm - Keynote Speech

Alex E. Chávez (University of Notre Dame), "Sonic Bridges and Intersectional Futures"

5:00 pm - Reception

Keynote Speaker

Alex E. Chávez is 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/x expressive culture in everyday life as manifest through sound, language, and performance. 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 University Press, 2017) is the recipient of three book awards, including the Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology (2018), the Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology's Book Prize (2018), and the Association for Latina and Latino Anthropologists Book Award(2018). In addition, Sounds of Crossing was short-listed for the prestigious Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing by the Society for Humanistic Anthropology. Supported by the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation, this book represents the first extended study of huapango arribeño music and explores how “Mexican sounds”—as a locus of aesthetic behaviors, performative acts, and signifying practices—resonate across physical, aural, and cultural borders and what they reveal about transnational migrant lives lived across them.

An accomplished musician and multi-instrumentalist, Chávez has also recorded and toured with his own music projects, composed documentary scores (most recently Emmy Award-winning El Despertar [2016]), and collaborated with acclaimed artists—including Antibalas, Grammy Award-winners Quetzal, and Latin Grammy Award-nominated Sones de México.

Currently, he is co-editing a volume provisionally titled Latino Aesthetics in the Global Midwest—a project that grows out of a collaborative research grant funded by the Mellon Foundation. He is also curating the liner notes for the forthcoming 8th studio album by Quetzal, which is to be released on Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. And in Spring 2019, he will be co-chairing an Advanced Seminar at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico on the topic of Ethnographies of Contestation and Resilience in Latinx America. For more about his work, visit his website:


2019 Columbia Music Scholarship Conference Co-Chairs:

Audrey Amsellem

PhD Student in Ethnomusicology

Audrey Amsellem is a PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. Originally from Paris, France, she began her undergraduate studies at community college before transferring to Columbia University to pursue a B.A in Music. She graduated cum laude and received Departmental Honors for her thesis “Songs of Dreams of Mankind” advised by Professor Fox in 2015, and received her M.A in 2017 with her thesis "Noise of Silent Machines: A Case Study of LinkNYC,” advised by Professor Ciucci and Professor Washburne.

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Jesse Abel Chevan

PhD Student in Ethnomusicology

Jesse Chevan was born in Brooklyn and raised in southern Connecticut. He attended Columbia University for his undergraduate degree, majoring in Middle Eastern Studies (MESAAS) with a special concentration in Jazz Studies. After graduation, he helped to open Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, a jazz club in Qatar, before returning to NYC to work full time as a drummer, performing mainly brass band, afrobeat, jazz, hip hop, and klezmer musics. He will be working on his Ph.D in Ethnomusicology, focusing primarily on trombone shout bands and other religious musics."

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Jonathan Ligrani

PhD Student in Historical Musicology

Jonathan Ligrani is a Ph.D. student in Historical Musicology with research interests in early modern Italy, the madrigal, medieval polyphonic development, critical theory, philosophy, and patronage. Hailing from Grand Junction, Colorado, he earned a B.A. in music and studied viola at the University of Northern Colorado. From 2014 to 2016, Jonathan completed an M.A. in Musicology at The Pennsylvania State University. His thesis, “The Language of Lament: Giaches de Wert and Claudio Monteverdi’s seconda pratica,” was supervised by Marica Tacconi.

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Lucy Turner

PhD Student in Historical Musicology

Originally from Raleigh, NC, Lucy Turner is a PhD student in Historical Musicology at Columbia University, where she began in 2016. In 2012, Lucy received her Bachelor of Music in violin performance from Vanderbilt University, where she did a concentration in music history and completed an honors thesis in musicology entitled "Music in a Familiar Accent: Linguistic Rhythm as Nationalist Sentiment in the Sibelius, Enescu, and Janáček." She went on to receive a Master of Music, also in violin performance, from Boston University in 2014.

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