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Columbia College Chicago
CBMR Serial Conferences on Black Music Diaspora

CBMR Serial Conferences on Black Music Diaspora

Focus on the Caribbean

Presented in Collaboration with
Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Río Piedras/University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras and
Instituto de Estudios del Caribe/Institute of Caribbean Studies

June 19–20, 2009
University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras

In partnership with the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras and the Institute of Caribbean Studies, the Center for Black Music Research invites you to participate in the Caribbean portion of a series of conferences that address the black music diaspora.

This two-day event is the third of four serial conferences the CBMR is presenting on the theme of “Reassessing the Black Musical Diaspora.” The series was launched in February 2008 with a number of sessions that formed part of the national CBMR conference in Chicago and continued with a conference in April 2008 in New Orleans that focused on that city's role as a key diasporal site. The fourth and final conference site will be in Italy, where new research on early African musical influences in the Mediterranean region has been gaining momentum in recent years.

The Caribbean conference will focus on theorizing the diaspora from the perspective of black music and musical scholarship in the four major language areas of the Caribbean region (Hispanophone, Francophone, Dutch-speaking, and Anglophone). The conference brings together a distinguished group of presenters, consisting of Caribbeanist scholars whose professional backgrounds and interests span several disciplines, including musicology, ethnomusicology, anthropology, sociology, folklore, religious studies, cultural studies, literary studies, and history.  The discussion will be pan-Caribbean in scope.

The CBMR is pleased that the Caribbean conference will be held within the region itself, in a location that resonates in many ways with the conference theme. Puerto Rico is centrally located, boasts a rich and varied local musical tradition, and has long been an important Caribbean crossroads with cultural connections spanning the region. Also important is the fact that Puerto Ricans have played an important role in several Caribbean and black music diasporas, including the ones that produced salsa, hip hop, and reggaetón, all of which have gone on to have a global impact. In recognition of Puerto Rico's unique cultural heritage, its own diaspora, and its musical contributions to the Caribbean and the wider world, a special evening event is being planned for conference attendees that will feature performances and dialogues with prominent musicians and cultural activists. Discussion will focus on the musical history of Santurce, a working class neighborhood in San Juan that originated as a black settlement and became a center for commercial entertainment and media in the twentieth century.