Culturally Relevant Performance Pedagogies: Exploring the Value of AfroLatina/o Music Performance Projects at a Hispanic-Serving Institution

  • Marco Cervantes


Within this essay, I reflect on my students’ final performative project in my undergraduate Latino Cultural Expressions class at a Hispanic-Serving Institution. I explore how culturally relevant performative pedagogies offer opportunities to examine culture in the classroom beyond mere celebrations of difference and aesthetics. Throughout the semester-long course, we conceptualize Latinidad as inclusive of Blackness and cover musical genres that reflect AfroLatina/o histories. This has led many students to recognize the importance of locating and exploring cultural expressions linked to AfroLatindad and histories of political oppression and struggle. Thus, student performances prompt compelling dialogue involving race, place, and society where musical forms such as cumbia, bachata, and son jarocho offer opportunities to critically examine histories of conquest and enslavement of Indigenous and Black people.