Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, School of Music, George Mason University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2005
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Ethnomusicology, University of Pennsylvania
"Where Night Finds Him, He Lives": Music, Regional Identity, and the Border Among the Gauchos of Chilean Patagonia

Music has always figured prominently in the gaucho lifestyle, and, in particular contexts, has helped gaucho communities to maintain a sense of group identity. In the early twenty-first century, the gaucho profession, long an icon of Argentine nationalism, is practiced almost exclusively in Chilean Patagonia, a region largely cut off from the rest of Chile. Gauchos of the region tap into transnational connections, identifying more strongly with a pan-Patagonian community than with the Chilean nation. In this regional context, the border between Chile and Argentina retains only a nominal significance, as gauchos practice these transnational identifications through musical performance and other cultural forms. Now, however, with the southward expansion of a major highway, the region's economic and infrastructural ties to Chile's cosmopolitan center grow stronger, and the border between Chilean and Argentina Patagonia takes on new significance. I will inquire into the ways in which the gauchos of Chilean Patagonia use music to negotiate and define their relationships with Argentine Patagonia, their own country's center, and the border that separates the two nation-states.