Sarah C Town
Lecturing Fellow of Thompson Writing Program

I am a music/ dance scholar with a research focus on the histories, aesthetics, and circulation of Afro-Latinx popular dance cultures. My work puts historiography and ethnography in dialogue with music and dance analysis to understand the meaning and impact of popular music and social dance practices that circulate globally through grassroots and commercial networks. My current writing projects address dialogue and interaction in contemporary Cuban jazz and the aesthetics and possibilities of Afro-Cuban dance techniques. Tentatively entitled Buscando la gozadera: Timba Culture in Global Markets, my book project interrogates the politics of pleasure through a detailed examination of music/ dance synergies and tensions among state-, capital-, and community-oriented agendas in the context of timba culture as produced in Havana, New York, Lima, and Madrid. At Duke, I teach La gozadera: Music/Dance/Emotion and Writing Through Dialogue and Improvisation.

Alongside my scholarship, I teach and perform Cuban popular music and social dance and Brazilian capoeira. Both inside and outside the academy, I'm interested in the potential of community-based arts practices for facilitating individual and community self-expression and empowerment, and for generating inclusive spaces where tough conversations can be had and new kinds of relationships can be forged.

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