2010-2011 MLCP Graduate Student Round Table

Friday, December 3rd, 2010 from 10:00AM-12:00PM
at room 501 North Park of the Folklore and Ethnomusicology Department.

The MLCP will sponsor another graduate student roundtable event: Mintzi Martinez-Rivera and Matthew J. Van Hoose, both newly returned from the field, will present on their respective ongoing research before an audience of faculty and students. 

Mintzi wearing a Miskuani dress during her fieldwork.
Mintzi Auanda Martinez-Rivera, PhD Candidate.
IU Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology and Anthropology Department.

Getting Married in Angahuan: The Miskuani and the Socio-Cultural
Transformation and Continuity of the P'urhépecha Culture

The community of Santo Santiago de Angahuan is a cultural enclave for the P'urhépecha culture in Michoacán, México. While many nearby communities are losing the P'urhépecha language and culture, in Angahuan it is flourishing. My research focuses on the P'urhépecha wedding, the Miskuani; an elaborate ritual that can take over two weeks of preparation and involves many community members. I argue that the different cultural and social elements that allow for the transformation and continuity of the P'urhépecha culture are present in the Miskuani; a "thick description" of the ritual showcases this important cultural dynamism.

During my yearlong stay in Angahuan I documented the Miskuani, as well as other important life-cycle rituals, employing a variety of ethnographic methods. Based on my observations, I propose three linked findings: the wedding defines and establishes the social norms of the community (such as the division of labor, gender roles, social status, etc.); it also provides the cultural template for the practice of other traditions, such as Baptisms, or Birthdays/Saint's Days; and, finally, the wedding provides the context for transforming cultural knowledge necessary for the creation of new traditions, such as graduation ceremonies. Rituals, as exemplified in the Miskuani, not only provide a symbolic cultural knowledge that contributes to the social organization of a community, but also, by drawing upon shared symbols, the necessary cultural tools to transform and continue their culture. 


Matthew J. Van Hoose, PhD Candidate. IU Anthropology Department.
Matt filming during his fieldwork in Uruguay. The Music-Language Nexus in Uruguayan Música Tropical: From Mimesis to Orientalization, and Other Excursions In Alterity

Since the early decades of the twentieth century, dominant imaginings of Uruguay have cast the country as "the Switzerland of America" – the hemisphere's only true enclave of Euro-descended whiteness, political liberalism, and middle-class prosperity. This talk examines how, within this national(ist) context, musical genres like cumbia and plena have mediated Uruguay's fraught and shifting relationship with the rest of the Latin American region.

In particular, I examine how specific linguistic practices within música tropical – e.g. the choice of second-person pronouns and the differential deployment of yeísmos – have helped to mark particular shifts in Uruguayan tropical music's socio-spatial indexicalities. While suggesting certain broad periodizations in which music and language seem to "point" in the same directions, I also pause to consider moments in which these two expressive modalities seem to cleave apart, opening new planes of semiotic possibility.