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Robin March Hanes Distinguished Professor

David Garcia
(Megan Mendenhall / Office of Research Communications)

David Garcia (Robin March Hanes Distinguished Professor) earned his PhD in ethnomusicology from The City University of New York, The Graduate Center. Published in Journal of the American Musicological Society, Journal of the Society for American Music, The Musical Quarterly, MUSICultures, and other academic journals, his research focuses on the music of the Americas with an emphasis on black music and Latin music of the United States and a theoretical focus on race and racism.

He teaches undergraduate courses in music of Latin America and world music, and graduate seminars in ethnomusicology, historiography, and popular music. He is also director of UNC’s Charanga Carolina, which specializes in Cuban danzón and salsa music. The Society for Ethnomusicology awarded his book, Listening for Africa: Freedom, Modernity, and the Logic of Black Music’s African Origins (Duke University Press, 2017) the 2018 Bruno Nettl Prize for Outstanding Publication in the History of Ethnomusicology. The Society for Ethnomusicology and the British Forum for Ethnomusicology also recognized the book with an Honorable Mention for the Alan P. Merriam Prize for Outstanding Book in Ethnomusicology and Commendation, respectively. The Association for Recorded Sound Collections awarded his first book, Arsenio Rodríguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music (Temple University Press, 2006), a Certificate of Merit in the category Best Research in Folk, Ethnic, or World Music. He is currently editing an anthology of Latin music, dance, and theater in the United States, 1783–1900. He has done research throughout the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Curaçao.

Garcia served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Society for American Music (2020–21). He is also a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship (2014–15). He has presented his research at conferences organized by the Society for Ethnomusicology, Cuban Research Institute, Casa de las Américas, and Latin American Studies Association. He was named Visiting Scholar at the Cristobal Díaz Ayala Collection of Cuban and Latin American Popular Music by the Cuban Research Institute, Florida International University. Garcia is currently serving on the Scholarly Advisory Committee of the National Museum of the American Latino, Smithsonian.


The Latinx Presence in Music, Dance, and Theater of the United States, 1783–1900: A Critical Reader, Vol. I (1783–1848) and Vol. II (1848–1900) (in progress).

2017  Listening for Africa: Freedom, Modernity, and the Logic of Black Music’s African Origins. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Review: Sarah Bishop in Popular Music, 38/2 (May 2019); Joel Dinnerstein, in African American Review 51/4 (2018); Steven Feld in Journal of Anthropological Research, 74/3 (September 2018); K.W. Mukuna in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, 56/1 (September 2018); Ryan T. Skinner in American Anthropologist 120/2 (June 2018); CJ Rensburg in Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa 15/1-2 (2018); Anonymous in The Journal of Pan African Studies (Online), 10/9 (October 2017).

2006   Arsenio Rodríguez and the Transnational Flows of Latin Popular Music. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Reviews: Halbert Barton in CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies 21/2 (2009); Elizabeth Coonrod Martínez in The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education 19/8 (2009); Íñigo Sánchez Fuarros in Revista Transcultural de Música/Transcultural Music Review 13 (2009); David-Emil Wickerström in Popular Music 27/1 (2008); Geoffrey Baker in Music & Letters 89/2 (2008); Phil Samponaro in The Journal of American Culture 30/2 (2007); Susan Thomas in Latin American Music Review 28/2 (2007); and Gema Guevara Latino Studies 5/3 (2007).

Book Chapters

2018   “‘A Strange Sound, between Crying and Chanting’: The Malagueña and Audile Techniques of American Imperialism at the End of the Nineteenth Century.” In Spaniards, Natives, Africans, and Roma: Transatlantic Malagueñas and Zapateados in Music, Song, and Dance, edited by K. Meira Goldberg, Walter Clark, and Antoni Pizà. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing (in press).

“Makuta” (translation). In Fernando Ortiz on Music: Selected Writing on Afro-Cuban Expressive Culture, edited by Robin D. Moore, 99–112. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

“Arará Drums” (translation). In Fernando Ortiz on Music: Selected Writing on Afro-Cuban Expressive Culture, edited by Robin D. Moore, 113–37. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

2017  “Listening Across Boundaries: Soundings from the Paramount Ballroom and Boyle Heights.” In The Tide Was Always High: The Music of Latin America in Los Angeles, edited by Josh Kun, 153–62. Berkeley: University of California Press.

2012   “The Afro-Cuban Soundscape of Mexico City: Authenticating Spaces of Violence and Immorality in Salón México and Víctimas del Pecado.” In Screening Songs in Hispanic and Lusophone Cinema, edited by Lisa Shaw and Rob Stone, 167–88. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

2010   “Contesting That Damned Mambo: Arsenio Rodríguez, Authenticity, and the Puerto Rican and Cuban Music Cultures of El Barrio and the Bronx, 1950s.” In The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History and Culture in the United States, edited by Miriam Jiménez and Juan Flores, 187–98. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

2009   “Embodying Music/Othering Dance: The Mambo Body in Havana and New York City.” In Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader, edited by Julie M. Malnig, 165–81. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Refereed* Articles

“When the Borders First Crossed Us: A Latinx Musicology for Trumpism” (in progress).

2015   *“Cantan los negros su dolor: Arsenio Rodríguez y la presencia afro-latin@ en los Estados Unidos durante la época del movimiento Black Power.” Boletín Música 40 (2015): 12–20.

2013   *“Contesting Anthropology’s Will to Power in the Field: William R. Bascom’s and Richard A. Waterman’s Fieldwork in Cuba, 1948.” MUSICultures 40/2 (2013): 1–33.

2011    *“‘We Both Speak African’: A Dialogic Study of Jazz.” Journal of the Society for American Music 5/2 (May 2011): 195–233.

2006    *“Going Primitive to the Movements and Sounds of Mambo.” The Musical Quarterly 89/4 (Winter 2006): 505–23.


Undergraduate (courses): World Musics in Theory and Practice, Foundations of Music, Introduction to World Musics, Introduction to Latin American and Latina/o Music

Graduate (seminar topics): African Diaspora, Latin music in the United States, Deleuze, Popular Music, Historiography

Ensemble: Charanga Carolina

Office: 220 Hill Hall
Phone: 919-451-3604

Prof. Garcia is Safe Zone and Haven certified.