Society for Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Abstract: This panel examines how music can and is being used as an instrument of decolonization, by whom, and in what ways. A focus on music invites attention to mobility, fluidity, fusions, and polysemy, characteristics often positioned in opposition to the authenticity, locality, and fixity attributed to indigenous identities. As an instrument of decolonization, music offers the possibility of contesting rigid colonial constructions of indigeneity through creativity, reinvention, and expression. Through an attention to the ways people use music, we foreground experiences of indigeneity as not only identity and representation, but also affective, embodied, materialized, performed (Graham and Penny 2014; de la Cadena and Starn 2007). We attend to the ways indigeneity is negotiated, culturally intimate (Dueck 2013), and carried out in lived experiences in ways that challenge logics of ‘recognition’ (Povinelli 2002; Deloria 2004). Through these practices we understand the ways popular culture, language, place, music, and media serve as actives sites of negotiating belonging and difference (Jacobsen 2017; Samuels 2004; Faudree 2013; Tucker 2019; Basso 1996).
Bringing together papers from across the Americas, this panel responds to scholarly calls to think about race, colonialism, and indigenous studies hemispherically (Castellanos 2017; Hooker 2017). To this end, the task of this panel is to put into dialogue experiences of colonialism and decolonization beyond settler colonial borders and acknowledge the ongoing colonial nature of power relations that were previously conceptualized as colonial legacies (Speed 2017). Putting into conversation papers that explore the role of music in decolonial projects from across the Americas, we seek to understand how discourses and projects of decolonization are conceived, how they travel, and how they may learn from one another.