UCR Department of Music
Wednesday@Noon via Zoom Presentation
Michael Birenbaum Quintero
Ethnomusicologist and Afro-Colombian music scholar
Jonathan Ritter, coordinator
Between Legibility and Alterity. Musical Knowledge, Cultural Policy, Economic Development, and Black Self-Making in Multiculturalist Colombia.
Traditional Colombian Pacific music has been recast by Afro-Colombian artists, activists, and intellectuals, and the Colombian state as a touchstone for cultural difference and a resource for a contradictory agendas: economic development, social amelioration, governance, and local activism. The new prominence of black Pacific music breaks with a long history of marginality, but the price for legitimation has been the squeezing of Afro-Colombian cultural and aesthetic particularities into formal and discursive frames legible to consumers, granting agencies, cultural policy instantiations, and other outside interlocutors. Fluency in these reifying formal and discursive translations is a competency that not everyone possesses or finds palatable. The underlying political question, then, is how the selfsame legitimation of certain forms of black culture excludes that majority of black Colombians who are unwilling or unable to provide the particular combination of legibility and self-exoticization that neoliberal multiculturalism requires.
May 5, 2021
Wednesday, 12:00-12:50 P.M. PDT
Free and open to the public.
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Michael Birenbaum Quintero is Associate Professor of Music and Chair of the Musicology & Ethnomusicology Department at Boston University. His work, mostly focusing on black Colombians, examines musical constructions of blackness, cultural policy and cultural politics, neoliberal multiculturalism, affective politics, musical circulation, violence and trauma, loudness, historical ethnomusicology, music streaming algorithms and the affect of late capitalism, Latinx/African-American interactions in Afro-Cuban religion, and ritual soundscapes in Havana, New York City, and Ọ̀yọ̀ (Nigeria). His monograph Rites, Rights and Rhythms: A Genealogy of Musical Meaning in Colombia’s Black Pacific (Oxford UP, 2018) was awarded a 2020 Ruth Stone Prize by the Society for Ethnomusicology. Outside the academy, he has directed a grassroots Afro-Colombian community music archive; designed cultural policy initiatives with the Colombian Ministry of Culture; performed traditional music and organized tours with Colombian musicians; and collaborated with the Afro-Colombian activist organization Proceso de Comunidades Negras and with Latinx, Black, working-class, and socialist organizers at home in Massachusetts.
View the 2020-2021 Wednesday@ Noon series here
Wednesday, May 5 at 12:00pm to 12:50pmVirtual Event
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