Christopher Robert Batterman

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Chicago, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10406

Approve Date

October 11, 2022

Project Title

Batterman, Christopher (Chicago, U. of) "Life on a Musical Lake: History, Environment, and Song in P√°tzcuaro, Mexico"

This project is animated by a central question: How are local landscapes, histories, and geographies made politically and socially meaningful through song and musical experience? Focusing on practices related to Indigenous pirekua music performed in the towns surrounding Lake P’tzcuaro, this project explores the ways sound and song condition how knowledges and experiences of history and environment come into being. Attending to the multi-dimensionality of musical experience, this project will explore what it means to participate in song/music in a place marked by histories of colonial dispossession, increasingly dire environmental degradation, and multiple forms of precarity (economic, ecological, etc.). Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork with musicians, luthiers, and listeners, as well as multimodal forms of sonic and visual ethnography, this research will interrogate how intimacies and historical ties with place are mediated by sound, how musicians and residents have responded to environmental concerns and coped with undercurrents of uncertainty and precarity, and how Indigenous people use music to refigure and revalue relationships with histories and presents. Attendant to the lived realities of environment and precarity, this project will model a way of doing anthropology-in-sound that engages with local and Indigenous sound knowledges, revealing otherwise strategies for navigating conditions of ecological precarity.