Sam Byrd received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center in May 2012 and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Hunter College (CUNY). His research interests include Latin music and immigration from Mexico to the Southeastern United States. He graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A., receiving high honors for my senior thesis in history. He has worked for NGOs and government agencies working on democratization, access to social services, and education, particularly with Spanish-speaking populations. He has studied on the US-Mexico border and visited Mexico , Peru , Ecuador, and the Dominican Republic.
His dissertation “Making Music in Latino Charlotte: Politics and Community Formation in a Globalizing City” examines how Latina/o immigrant musicians and their audiences form communities that link to hemispheric social networks and operate within the context of global flows of capital, labor, and cultural practices. Drawing on ethnographic data collected from 2008-2011, I place musical communities in the context of Charlotte’s political economy and explore themes that characterize the process of musicians and audiences creating community: 1) class dynamics; 2) the value placed on making music and musicians’ labor; 3) musicians’ engagement with politics; 4) shifting notions of genre; 4) connections between creativity, aesthetics and ethical judgments; and 5) the networks linking musicians to a global music industry.