Columbia Music Scholarship Conference

Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 9:30am

2019 Columbia Music Scholarship Conference


   Date: Saturday, March 30, 2019

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

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

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9:30 am - Welcome and Breakfast

10:00 am - Session 1: Amplifying Archives

  • 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

  • Alexander Goncalves, “Lyric and Liberation: Radical Pragmatics in Brazilian Hip Hop” 
  • Kelsey Klotz, “Choosing to Resist: White Privilege, 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

  • Joe Lovell, “Sonic Resistance in the Early PRC: Subverting the Soundscape in Mao’s China” 
  • Rebecca Lentjes, “Sonic Dissent and Aural Refusal 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)

5:00 pm - Reception

Keynote Speaker: Alex E. Chávez

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

Jesse Abel Chevan

Jonathan Ligrani

Lucy Turner