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Friday, April 27 • 11:15am - 12:45pm
Roundtable: Making American Sabor

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Jasen Emmons, Marisol Berrios-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, Michelle Habell-Pallán, and Dwandolyn R. Reese
Moderator: Larin McLaughlin
Making American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music / Latinos y latinas en la musica popular estadounidense
The American Sabor exhibit is the result of a long-term partnership between MoPOP, the University of Washington, and the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Service. The three worked together to create an exhibit greater than sum of its parts. As it communicated scholarly research in a popular voice, the exhibit experimented with multiple media and multiple platforms to allow the dynamics of sound to drive its audio, visual and print storytelling, and to infuse a feminista perspective on music as a process where gender norms are reproduced, challenged, and transformed. Over a period of eight years, 1,000,000 people viewed and listened to the exhibit. For many, it was the first opportunity to learn about the history of the subject.
This roundtable launches the newly published bilingual print book version of American Sabor (University of Washington Press). Featuring a dialogue with those directly involved with the making of the exhibit and book including MoPop’s Director of Curatorial Affairs Jasen Emmons, UW faculty Marisol Berrios-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, Michelle Habell-Pallán, and former senior Project Director at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service Evelyn Figueroa, our conversation will share best practices regarding the challenges and opportunities of collaborating on a project of this scope. Dwandolyn R. Reese, Curator of Music and Performing Arts at Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, will reflect on the exhibit’s impact. Together we explore the collective motivations and methodologies used to decide on American Sabor’s voice and perspective, the selection of stories and objects, and the media forms delivering its stories.
Like the exhibit, the book version of American Sabor evokes the pleasures of music as well as food, the word sabor signifies a rich essence that makes our mouths water or makes our bodies want to move. American Sabor traces the substantial musical contributions of Latinas and Latinos in American popular music between World War II and the present in five vibrant centers of Latin@ musical production: New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Miami. From Tito Puente's mambo dance rhythms to the Spanglish rap of Mellow Man Ace, American Sabor focuses on musical styles that have developed largely in the United States-including jazz, rhythm and blues, rock, punk, hip hop, country, Tejano, and salsa-but also shows the many ways in which Latin@ musicians and styles connect US culture to the culture of the broader Americas.
The scope of American Sabor required all involved in its making to learn through dialogue, both oral and written, between people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. It began with vigorous debate among Marisol, Shannon, and Michelle in which we shared our diverse disciplinary perspectives and methods from ethnomusicology, cultural studies, Chicanx feminist theory, and performance. As our conversations extended to collaboration with a vast circle of senior curators, scholars, artists, and activists, and senior press editors, we were impressed with the way that knowledge is produced through relationships, and realized that it cannot be separated from the form and context in which it is communicated.  


Marisol Berrios-Miranda

Marisol Berríos-Miranda is the author of numerous articles on salsa and Puerto Rican musical culture. She’s the co-author of American Sabor: Latinos and   Latinas in US Popular Music and co-curator of the exhibit of the same name.Berríos Miranda is affiliate professor of ethnomusicology... Read More →

Shannon Dudley

Shannon Dudley is Associate Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Washington, author of Carnival Music in Trinidad (Oxford University Press 2004), Music From Behind the Bridge (Oxford 2008), and numerous articles about Caribbean music.  He is co-curator/author of the... Read More →

Jasen Emmons

Jasen Emmons is the Director of Curatorial Affairs at MoPoP Museum, overseeing the Curatorial, Collections, Exhibits, and Education departments and championing Pop Conference every year. In his spare time, he occasionally gets to curate pop culture exhibits like Fantasy: Worlds of... Read More →

Larin McLaughlin

Larin McLaughlin is Editor in Chief at University of Washington Press, where she acquires books in American studies, critical ethnic studies, women's, gender, and sexuality studies, and visual culture. A UW alum, she returned to Seattle in 2014 after working as a Senior Acquisitions... Read More →

Dwandolyn R. Reese

Dwandalyn R. Reece is Curator of Music and Performing Arts at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and curated museum’s permanent exhibition, Musical Crossroads for which she received the Secretary’s Research Prize in 2017.  Reece... Read More →

Friday April 27, 2018 11:15am - 12:45pm PDT
Sky Church

Attendees (6)