Chris Batterman Cháirez

Chris Batterman Cháirez headshot
Cohort Year: 2019
Advisor(s): Philip V. Bohlman
Research Interests: sound studies; affect, intimacy, embodiment; race and Indigeneity; environmental anthropology, human-environment, climate change; death and dying; colonial afterlives, landscapes, temporality; Mexico and Brazil; salamanders and whales
Education: MA, University of Chicago, 2021; BA, Emory University, 2019


I am a Mexican American ethnographer and anthropologist of music with interests that cut broadly across music and sound studies, social and environmental anthropology, critical social theory, and Latin American studies. My research opens onto issues of sociality, affect, intimacy, race, and the politics of sound (in Brazil and Mexico). My dissertation project traces the material, affective, and cosmological stakes of sound, song, and musical experience in a context that is facing the brunt of climate change and ecological precarity: Lake Pátzcuaro in Michoacán, Mexico. The dissertation asks how music/sound might reveal the ways that coloniality and late liberalism are made material in bodily practices and social forms, in more-than-human worlds, and in landscapes and geographies. Focusing on a constellation of Indigenous (P’urhépecha) and non-Indigenous practices of listening and sounding, the dissertation takes sound as an entryway for understanding the embodied, social, and affective dimensions of Indigeneity, nation, and environment in Mexico. A secondary project explores the sensory and sonic dimensions of toxic exposure (i.e.., air pollution) in Mexico City. Other ongoing projects include a study of voice and juridical thought in Mexico and (with Jacob Reed) a “musical history” of anthropology. My work has received support from Fulbright, Fulbright-Hays, and the Mexican Secretary of Culture (Secretaría de Cultura), among others.

I grew up between Detroit and Mexico City and have lived and worked as a professional musician in Atlanta, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro. I’ve performed, recorded, and toured in various capacities with artists from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, and Korea.

Teaching Experience

  • MUSI 10200 Introduction to World Music