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Meet the Fellows: 2018 Newcombe Fellow Teresita Lozano

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship fosters the original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences. The 2018 class, announced by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, includes Teresita Lozano, a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at University of Colorado Boulder. Teresita’s dissertation, titled Songs for the Ghosts, Saints for the Undocumented: Mexican Cristero Corridos and Transborder Immigration Discourse, explores contemporary musical performances and compositions that narrate Mexican migration journeys as experiences of survival, religious devotion, and miraculous intercession.

Teresita reflects on the influences that have shaped her interests and course of study:

Growing up on the U.S.-Mexico borderland of El Paso, Texas, as the daughter of Mexican immigrants, I always felt like I lived in two worlds at once. As early as I can remember, music was always the focal point of my life. I sang in the children’s choir for the Spanish Mass at my parish. I watched black and white films of Mexican classical cinema with my grandmothers, memorizing and performing songs from the Golden Era of Mexican music. My parents instilled in me a love for the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Elton John, Eric Clapton, B.B. King, and other rock legends. I devoured my father’s collection of rock albums, vinyl archives of his teenage rebellion that became his adulthood passion and part of my musical inheritance. I discovered a love for Western classical music, a passion separate from my family life, entirely my own, and a creative expression that opened avenues into a world of performing as a soloist and in symphony orchestras in higher education. However, the further my education took me from the borderland, the more important my heritage and culture became.

I felt a necessity to preserve my traditions alongside my development as a professional musician and scholar. After finishing an incredible undergraduate experience at Baylor University’s School of Music, my strong academic interest in cultural anthropology, religious studies, and history drove me to seek a field that would allow me to combine these with my deep passion for music and performance. In addition to my academic work in ethnomusicology, I continue to find a musical escape performing in the community in classical music, world music, and my heartland of Mexican music. As I found a new home among the Latinx immigrant community in Colorado, I quickly became an advocate and activist, using my position in education and in the musical arts to give a voice to the immigrant community. My project is dedicated to the survivors of migrant journeys, and to my family, whose own journey, music, and traditions inspire me to help others share their story.

For more information about the 2018 Newcombe Fellows and a list of their dissertation titles, click here.

 


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