It’s been a busy year for CSUMB professor Umi Vaughan.
In April, his book, Carlos Aldama's Life in Batá: Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum, was published.
In October, the University of Michigan Press published his most recent work, Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba.
This month, Dr. Vaughan was invited by the Secretary of Culture in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, to participate in an event called the Encounter of Black Cultures, where he presented his work on the African Diaspora. He learned as much as he taught.
"I exchanged ideas with scholars and artists from Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela and Trinidad, to name a few countries," Dr. Vaughan said. "The Candombe drums from Uruguay were a revelation to me, another little known, very beautiful aspect of African Diaspora culture."
He also observed samba gatherings throughout the city of Salvador da Bahia and developed ideas to extend his research on collective action through music and dance.
"My friends handed me a bell and I played music in an Afro Brazilian drumming ceremony," he said. "And I met and learned from the famous Brazilian musician Carlinhos Brown.
“It was a great experience,” Dr. Vaughan said, “and may produce projects that involve collaboration between CSUMB and other international educational and cultural institutions.”
An anthropologist, musician, dancer and photographer, Dr. Vaughan is associate professor of Africana Studies at CSUMB, where he created an innovative course called Afro Cuba Hip Hop: Music and Dance in the Black Atlantic. It covers the social history and practice of music/dance styles from throughout the African Diaspora.
He has conducted extensive anthropological research in Cuba about Afro Cuban music and dance, and has created numerous scholarly presentations, art exhibits and cultural events in the U.S. and abroad.
He holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan.
Learn more about Dr. Vaughan on his website.