Date of Award

Fall 11-10-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)


Interdisciplinary Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Robbie Lieberman

Second Advisor

Dr. Rudy Aguilar


Music is an integral part of a complex transcultural and political connection that exists between Latin America and the United States. Exploring the transnational culture of music in the Americas, this project considers the historical and socio-political issues which contribute to this transcultural relationship. The long history of colonization and exploitation by Spain, Britain, and the United States has left an indelible mark on Latin American economic, social and cultural environments. Looking at the continuing effects of the Western Industrial revolution, including its effects on class struggle, national independence movements and cultural developments, this project begins by summarizing and engaging scholarship that establishes essential political theories and their requisite vocabularies. Secondly, the project highlights historical social and cultural narratives that explore the hidden contexts of colonization and exploitation in Latin America. Finally, discussing ethnomusicological narratives the project examines the international political and economic forces that influence the development of cultural identities in Latin America and the United States, analyzing how a quest to create a national musical identity contributes to political and cultural change.

The study of how music influences behavior, creating new daily practices and rituals, is essential to an investigation of how it contributes to the construction of personal and group identities and affects political and cultural change on the local, national and transnational levels.

I believe music is an international language, one which transcends time and space. I have developed this project to communicate the importance of music in our world, to demonstrate how it initiates social change while also creating unique identities and cultural relationships that reach across national borders.

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