This lecture is co-sponsored with the Latina/o and Mexican American Studies Program (LMAS) at UNT.
Dr. Deborah Vargas is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California-Davis and a native of San Antonio, Texas. She earned her doctorate in sociology with an emphasis in feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research and teaching areas include Chicano/Latino cultural studies, critical race feminisms, queer of color critique, popular culture, feminist ethnography, borderlands theory, and oral history methods.
Vargas’ first book, Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) draws on Chicana feminism, cultural studies, and queer of color analysis to examine the ways in which Chicana singers push the heteronormative limits of what she refers to as sonic imaginaries of borderlands music. Dissonant Divas was awarded the Woody Guthrie Prize for Best Book in Popular Music Studies from The International Association for the Study of Popular Music (U.S. Branch); Honorable Mention, Best Book in Latino Studies from The Latino Studies Section of The Latin American Studies Association; and Best Book in Chicano Studies from The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies.
She is currently working on two manuscripts. The first, theorizes a queer feminist notion of “brown soul” that reimagines Chicanidad/Mexicanidad by tracing the African diasporic sounds and aesthetics of performers including Gloria Ríos, Mexican girl groups in the mid-twentieth century, Linda Ronstadt, and Martha Gonzalez, among others. The second, argues for a notion of “Latin@ sabor” to theorize what she refer to as suciedad as sociedad. It interrogates the potentiality of socialities that emerge through queer Latin@ taste — the déclassé, the foul, the bad, the offensive, the impure, the dirty, the nasty, the uncivil, the non-hygenic — and how such socialities may enact queer modes of endurance, longevity, and perseverance as alternatives to the kinds of visibility and recognition that are central to liberal constructions of Latino citizenship.