Baylor alumna receives prestigious award for research on Mexican ballads, ‘corridos’
The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship is the nation’s largest, most prestigious award for humanities and social sciences Ph.D. candidates researching questions of ethical and religious values.
This year, just 21 students nationwide have been honored as Newcombe Fellows — and one of those is a Baylor Bear.
Teresita Lozano, a 2010 Baylor music education graduate who is now a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado, received the honor to continue her work studying modern-day corridos. A century ago, corridos were Mexican ballads depicting governmental oppression and religious persecution; today, they deal with issues related to Mexican migration. (Other award recipients are researching topics such as the future of St. Louis after events in Ferguson; baroque and enlightenment Catholicism in 18th-century Spain; social welfare in South Africa; and contemporary African American literature.)
“My research is invaluable to my own identity as a Mexican-American musician and performer,” explains Lozano. “While I specialize in other genres in my role as a professional musician and scholar, studying these traditional genres is an invaluable means of experiencing the humanity of others.”
Corridos were first inspired by La Cristada, the 1926-29 religious armed rebellion of Cristeros against the Mexican government. Today, the songs often serve as a form of political activism for immigration reform, many times recorded and performed anonymously and shared on social media. In the final year of her work, Lozano is analyzing how these new versions of Cristero corridos preserve migrants’ oral history in the age of social media.
“My work will contribute an alternative understanding of Cristero corridos as cultural artifacts uninhibited by national borders, contemporary musical performances that are not ‘simply Mexican,’ but equally part of the complex artistic and socio-political self-representation of Mexican immigrant identity outside of Mexico.”
Sic ’em, Teresita!