Brown Soul: Lionel Cantú Memorial Lecture with Deborah R. Vargas, Thursday, April 27, 2017, 12:00-2:00pm, Alumni Room, University Center

This event honors the memory of Dr. Lionel Cantú, Jr., former Assistant Professor of Sociology at UC Santa Cruz, who unexpectedly passed away in 2002. Bridging Latina/o studies, feminist studies, and sociology, his academic research was on international migration, HIV/AIDS, and queer theories.

March 15, 2017

By , Professor and Chair of Sociology 


In this talk, Deborah R. Vargas shares insights from her manuscript-in-progress, Brown Soul. As a queer feminist analytic, “brown soul” reckons with Blackness in the field of Chicano Studies and, by extension, the political and aesthetic productions of chicanidad, or what it means to feel, imagine, and perform a Chicano sensibility.  Brown Soul necessitates different methodological movidas in studies of the cultural politics of Chicano music and performance.  With a focus on the brown soul of various artists, such as Rosie and the Originals, Linda Ronstadt, and Sheila E., corridos de Amalia/Amelio Robles, and the Mexican folkloric song “La negra," Brown Soul initiates a spirit of urgency to ponder performance iconographies and analytic frameworks that have too often elided Blackness in analyses of cultural productions, theoretical paradigms, and canonical historiographies.

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Deborah R. Vargas
 is Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside.  She received her doctorate in Sociology, with a concentration in Feminist Studies, from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She is a former University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow.  Her areas of research include Chicana/Latina cultural production, queer of color sexualities and genders, and critical race feminisms. Her publications have appeared in journals such as Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Women and Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory, Feminist Studies, Social Text, and American Quarterly. Her first book, Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), was awarded three national books prizes.

The Chicano Latino Research Center is pleased to cosponsor this free, public lecture with the Division of Social Sciences, Rachel Carson College, and the Anthropology, Community Studies, Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness, Latin American and Latino Studies, Literature, Politics, and Sociology Departments.