Lauren Deal

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Brown U.

Grant number

Gr. 9527

Approve Date

October 11, 2017

Project Title

Deal, Lauren E., Brown U., Providence, RI - To aid research on 'Recuperating Argentina Mestiza: An Ethnographic Study of Language, Music, and Race in Buenos Aires, Argentina,' supervised by Dr. Paja L. Faudree

This dissertation research investigates if and how Argentine actors are inverting Latina American raical ideologies of mestizaje to ‘de-whiten’ Argentine identity and produce a mestiza Argentine identity. Specifically, this project analyzes the linguistic and material practices by which Argentine actors construct and perform a mestiza Argentine identity in order to elucidate the potentially transformative and transgressive role of sound (both linguistic and musical) in this process of racial, cultural, and political reimagining. It does so through 12 months of ethnographic research with cultural initiatives in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, that teach, study, and perform indigenous languages and music as a way of ‘recuperating’ Argentina’s indigenous roots. It uses ethnographic methods that include participant observation, semi-structured ethnographic interviews, and discourse and media analysis to address the following questions: (1) Does learning, speaking, and/or performing indigenous languages and music transform the identities of participants in these initiatives, and if so, how? In what way are these transformations experienced — as racial, cultural, political, class etc? (2) How do participants in these initiatives conceptualize indigeneity, and what role does it play in participants’ transformations? (3) How is Argentina’s supposed ‘exceptional whiteness’ understood, performed, contested and/or reaffirmed by participants in these initiatives, both as a lived racial identity and as an ideological construct? This project contributes to anthropological understandings of race and indigeneity in Latin America, whiteness, and the unique role of language, music, and sound in processes of racial identify formation, transgression, and transformation.