Employing the Afro-Puerto Rican musical tradition of Bomba, this presentation focuses on discourses of sexuality and gender among practitioners in Puerto Rico but with particular attention to musicians and dancers of the Bomba diaspora in the United States. In popular narratives of Bomba men have historically been framed as musicians while women have been traditionally been both archived and presented as dancers and singers. Invoking the communitarian context out of which Bomba was framed this presentation interrogates the point of entry of female practitioners who challenge these gendered positionalities with regard to drumming and dancing/singing. Focusing on the critical interventions of these practitioners I explore contemporary performances of Bomba in the diaspora as a tradition in which feminist and queer sociopolitical histories and aesthetic practices thrive.
Micaela Díaz-Sánchez is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish, Latina/o and Latin American Studies at Mount Holyoke College. Díaz-Sánchez received her Ph.D. from Stanford University’s Department of Drama and Performance Studies in 2009 with a dissertation entitled “(In)Between Nation and Diaspora: Performing Indigenous and African Legacies in Contemporary Chicana/o and Mexican Cultural Production.” While at Stanford she also focused on directing and performing in original work by queer writers of color in community-based performance projects throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. After Stanford, Díaz-Sánchez was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Latina/o Studies with an affiliation in African American Studies at Northwestern University. At Northwestern she was selected as “Faculty Member of the Year” by the Multicultural Student Affairs Office. While in Chicago she immersed herself in local performance communities as a practitioner of two diasporic musical traditions, Afro-Mexican Son Jarocho and Afro-Puerto Rican Bomba, which she performed professionally as part of a Humboldt Park-based ensemble. Her publications include “Impossible Patriots: The Exiled Queer Citizen in Cherríe Moraga’s ‘The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea” (in Signatures of the Past: Cultural Memory in Contemporary North American Drama (2008)) and “Body as Codex-ized Word”/ Cuerpo Como Palabra (en-)Códice-ado”: Chicana and Mexican Transnational Performative Indigeneities” (in Performing the Latina/o Borderlands (2011)). She is currently researching issues of gender and sexuality in the contemporary practices of Bomba as well as Chicana/o cultural producers as part of the African diaspora through what she conceptualizes as “Afro-Chicana/o Diasporic Aesthetics.”