Maxwell Grear

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Columbia U.

Grant number

Gr. 10305

Approve Date

April 13, 2022

Project Title

Grear, Maxwell (Columbia U.) "Streaming the Reparto: Anticipated listening and the aesthetics of compression in inland Havana"

MAXWELL GREAR, then a graduate student at Columbia University, New York, New York, was awarded funding in April 2022 to aid research on “Streaming the Reparto: Anticipated listening and the aesthetics of compression in inland Havana,” supervised by Dr. Rosalind Morris. Through ethnographic and archival engagements in Havana, Cuba, the researcher investigated how political-economic logics of capital accumulation shape musical culture and subjectivity. The ethnographic study focused on a Havana-based urban music scene known as “reparto,” which in recent years has attracted significant state and foreign commercial investment. The researcher studied street spaces of gathering, listening, and dancing in two historic neighborhoods that have been central to the emergence of reparto style and scene and to the longer history of Cuban popular music. The researcher also visited music recording studios around Havana, establishing a regular presence in one prolific studio. There, interviews were conducted with producers, artists, and representatives and recording and mastering sessions were observed. These engagements provided ethnographic insight into the entanglements of commercial exchange and musical experience in a social environment shaped by a criminalized shadow economy and ideological fantasies of entrepreneurial success. Supplementing this ethnographic inquiry, the researcher developed a historical case study through archival research in the collected papers of Fernando Ortiz. Materials were discovered that cast new historiographic light on debates among politically active intellectuals in 1920s-1930s Cuba about the implications of an emergent mass, commercialized musical culture for anti-imperialist, anti-racist, and democratic political interventions.