THURSDAYS IN OCTOBER 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th 6:30PM | Fox Tucson Theatre
Join us for four engaging talks on the intersections between music, communication, culture, place, and personal identity.
Free tickets available now!
2018 Downtown Lectures
Thursday, October 04
Music: All This Useless Beauty?
In the first lecture of the series, Jake Harwood will explore why music is a fundamental human activity. Rather than an indulgence, music began as a means of communication and an expression of kinship, home, and emotion. From soccer chants to Snowball the dancing cockatoo, Harwood will explain music’s influence on a wide range of behaviors, including its role in coordinating movement through dance, signaling relationships, and acting as both a bridge and a barrier between groups with differing identities.
Jake Harwood is a professor in the UA Department of Communication. His latest book, Communication and Music in Social Interaction, explores how music conveys hidden messages, its emotional and physical effects, and how it relates to many forms of communication, including new technology. Musician Yo Yo Ma is a perfect example—he quoted from Harwood’s work on his Facebook page last summer!
From Little Richard to Beyoncé Cultural Blending in Music
Music has long been a place of polyculturality, the blending of cultures. Tyina Steptoe will examine the complexities of cultural blending at work in gospel, rhythm & blues, rock & roll, and pop music, including discussions of race, gender, and queerness. Using examples from Little Richard to Selena and Beyoncé, she will illuminate how and where polycultural music emerges and how these sounds can shape the social and economic landscapes of communities of color.
Tyina Steptoe is an associate professor in the UA Department of History. Her 2016 book Houston Bound: Culture and Color in a Jim Crow City examines the complexities of race and migration in Jim Crow-era Houston through music, tracing the emergence of blues, jazz, and the hybrid genres that arose when migrants shared social space. Steptoe has since applied this research in a blog post on music icon (and Houston native) Beyoncé.
Centering on the visual aspects of music culture, Maurice Rafael Magaña will discuss the role of urban youth culture in shaping collective identity, particularly where migration, cross-culture pollination and public artwork are involved. In highlighting the perhaps surprising exchange between the Los Angeles hip hop scene and youth activists in Oaxaca, Mexico, he will illustrate not only the communicative power of art in public spaces, but also the ways in which youth culture, art, and migration can intersect to shape collective identities and community histories of struggle.
Maurice Rafael Magaña is an assistant professor of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. Currently writing the manuscript for his upcoming Cartographies of Youth Resistance: Hip-Hop, Punk and the Production of Counter-Space, Magaña’s cutting-edge research focuses on the cultural politics of youth organizing, migration, urban spaces, and social movements in Mexico and the United States.
Norteño, Corridos, and Mariachi Culture and Conflict in Border Music
Born, developed, or enjoyed in zones of frequent migration, border music has always been shaped by the intermingling of cultures and identities. Celestino Fernandez will relate the fascinating histories of musical genres performed in the Mexico-U.S. border region, including norteño, corridos, and mariachi, helping us see and hear the border in a new light. His talk will also incorporate a live corrido singer and a local mariachi band!
Celestino Fernandez is a professor emeritus of the UA Department of Sociology. His celebrated work on the history and cultural meanings of corridos, mariachi, and other folk music traditions in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands gives keen insight into how music and lyrical poetry are used to tell both personal and collective stories, particularly touching on the cultural and economic impacts of immigration.
The Fox Tucson Theatre is located at 17 W. Congress Street at the northwest corner of Congress Street and Stone Avenue in downtown Tucson. On-street metered parking downtown is free after 5:00 p.m., and there are plenty of parking garages nearby. We are proud to partner with Park Tucson, who will run a special offer of $1 parking for lecture attendees at the Pennington Street Garage (110 E. Pennington Street, entrance on Scott Avenue between Pennington St. and Congress St.)—just see our staff at the door of the Fox Tucson Theatre to pick up your parking validation ticket. You might also consider parking along the streetcar route and taking the Sun Link Street Car, which runs through downtown Tucson from the UA Medical Campus to the Mercado San Agustin. We look forward to seeing you at the 2018 Downtown Lecture Series!
1. Pennington Street Parking Garage (two blocks NE of The Fox Theater)
The 2018 "Soundscapes: Music, Place, and Identity" Downtown Lecture Series is sponsored by Holualoa Companies, Ken and Linda Robin, Arizona Public Media, Arizona Daily Star, KXCI Radio, Park Tucson, and Downtown Tucson Partnership. Additional support comes from Barbara Ellison and Jo Ann Starrett, Adib and Vivi Sabbagh, Tucson Medical Center, AC Marriott Hotel, Maynards’s Market and Kitchen, and Hotel Congress.