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Mini-Hartley Residency with Professor David F. Garcia (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) Seminar

Professor David Garcia
16:00 - 17:00
10 May 2023
online event (Microsoft Teams)

Event details

The music department is delighted to welcome Professor David F. Garcia for an online Mini-Hartley Residency.

This public online event will take place on Microsoft Teams. If you are not a staff or student at University of Southampton and would like to attend, please contact Hettie Malcomson at

Event details

4–5pm - talk: “Music and Trauma of the Mexican War: A Case Study from February 1847”

Compared to the American Civil War, the United States’ intervention in Mexico from 1846 to 1848 occupies a marginal space in the collective historical memory of the United States’ long 19th century. Music of that war is shrouded even more in a collective forgetting. Indeed, as Philip Bohlman (2000) has noted, “music functions powerfully to facilitate both remembering and forgetting,” and Mexican and US music of the Guerra de Intervención, as the Mexican War was known in Mexico at the time, serves as a particularly informative example of music functioning as a means of forgetting.

This lecture will explore music’s and poetry’s functions in narrating one particular battle of this war, the crucial “Battle of Buena Vista,” known in Mexico as La Batalla de Angostura, of February 22 and 23, 1847. What these artistic creations in their entirety constitute are commemorations for soldiers who underwent the most horrific and traumatic experiences in la Batalla de Angostura. As commemorative pieces, they enabled Mexicans and US Americans to reenact traumatic events in public and domestic settings to honor those who bled and died for their nations. But what could such obscure or forgotten pieces today teach us about a war fought 176 years ago? And, how can poetry and music about this war contribute unique insights into a history of conflict that literary scholar Jaime Javier Rodríguez (2010) argues continues to this day “most visibly in the cycles of border militarization” between Mexico and the United States?

I draw from Mexican and US archival sources to argue that many destinies were and still are manifest in the sounds rendered in battle music of the United States. I take this approach of excavating forgotten destinies to force back Mexican soundings into the historical spaces of the Mexican War, which as law historian Laura Gómez (2007) argues, was dominated in the Anglo-American imagination as a “moment of national triumph before the dark years of conflict over slavery that culminated in the Civil War”.

Speaker information

David F. Garcia. David Garcia is Professor and Chair of the Department of Music at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned his PhD in ethnomusicology from The City University of New York, The Graduate Center. Published in Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Society for American Music, The Musical Quarterly, MUSICultures, and other academic journals, his research focuses on the music of the Americas with an emphasis on Black music and Latin music of the United States and a theoretical focus on race, racism, and historiography. The Society for Ethnomusicology awarded his book, Listening for Africa: Freedom, Modernity, and the Logic of Black Music’s African Origins (Duke University Press, 2017) the 2018 Bruno Nettl Prize for Outstanding Publication in the History of Ethnomusicology. The Society for Ethnomusicology and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology also recognized the book with an Honorable Mention for the Alan P. Merriam Prize for Outstanding Book in Ethnomusicology and Commendation, respectively. The Association for Recorded Sound Collections awarded his first book, Arsenio Rodríguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music (Temple University Press, 2006), a Certificate of Merit in the category Best Research in Folk, Ethnic, or World Music. He is currently editing an anthology of Latin music, dance, and theater in the United States, 1783–1900

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