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Title:Marimba music, boundaries of diaspora, and epistemologies of the Colombian border in Esmeraldas, Ecuador
Author(s):Wellington, Peter Judkins
Director of Research:Silvers, Michael B.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Silvers, Michael B.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Buchanan, Donna A.; Solis, Gabriel; Whitten, Norman E.
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Ecuador, Marimba, Diaspora, Colombia, Music, Borders, Boundaries
Abstract:This dissertation is an ethnography of borders in Esmeraldas, Ecuador, a province in the southernmost region of a binational African diaspora community that extends into Colombia to the north, constituting an area locally known as “El Pacífico.” This area has been home to the majority of Ecuador’s black population for many generations, and throughout this dissertation I examine how music-making is integrated with individual and group identities associated with Esmeraldas, Ecuador, Colombia, El Pacífico, and the African diaspora. El Pacífico is a region that is unified in habits of thought and practice and forms of cultural expression, and given these shared characteristics that exist across the Ecuador-Colombia border, I ask questions about how the border has affected each population differently. In order to do so, I address oral histories, diaspora discourses, afro-indigenous relations, nation-state borders, and ideas of binationalism. I argue that in Esmeraldas the reality of the border influences epistemic engagement with questions of history, homelands, and identity that are reproduced and rearticulated through music. Taking the nation-state borders that divide El Pacífico as a point of departure, I consider the various ways borders and boundaries are constructed in relation to diaspora discourse, processes of racialization, intercultural relations with indigenous groups, the delineation of ancestral territories, and the perception of El Pacífico abroad. My focus is marimba music and its use within discourses of identity and the particular characteristics of its music that are heard on both sides of the Ecuador-Colombia border. In recent years, tangible results of political activism that is focused on identity politics in Ecuador include the demarcation of ancestral territories, and I examine the important role of music in such claims. Similar kinds of racial boundaries were constructed during nation-building projects in Colombia as well, and various policies developed between the two governments allow us to consider the region as being binational in its character. I examine the sonic characteristics, musical interpretation, and performative aspects of music that speak to distinct nationalisms within El Pacífico.
Issue Date:2019-04-19
Rights Information:Copyright Peter Judkins Wellington
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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