Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Recent lecture by Mellon-Sawyer Postdoctoral Research Associate Daina Sanchez

October 9, 2018

Mellon Sawyer Postdoctoral Fellow Daina Sanchez presented the lecture “The Children of Solaga: Ritual, Identity, and Transnationalism Among the Children of Indigenous Mexican Immigrants” on September 26th. Her lecture drew on rich ethnographic insight to examine communal brass bands as a nexus for Zapotec youth in L.A. to negotiate intersectional identities. The talk was well-attended and sparked dynamic discussion among the faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students in attendance. 

Dr. Sanchez’s research foregrounds the experiences of children of immigrants, both those brought to the U.S. as children and those born in the U.S. For these children, participation in traditional brass bands and traditional dances in L.A. can mean a way of relating to their family origins in the Zapotec town of San Andrés Solaga as well as an activity that offers an alternative to negative aspects of their neighborhoods. These activities are one avenue to overcome obstacles such as legal status impacting their transnational lives, while documented children engage in solo return visits to the home community for patron saint celebrations. Dr. Sanchez’s research takes into account the racial dimensions of growing up among a diverse Latino population in L.A. and the national anti-immigrant environment. 

CLACS is pleased to welcome Dr. Sanchez as Mellon Sawyer Seminar Postdoctoral Fellow for the 2018-2019 academic year. She will offer the course entitled Race, Racism, and Indigeneity in the Americas in the spring 2019 semester.