Rocking the Boat: Migration and Race in Contemporary Spanish Music
Silvia Bermúdez’s fascinating study reveals how Spanish popular music, produced between 1980 and 2013, was the first cultural site to engage in critical debate about ethnicity and race in relation to the immigration patterns that have been changing the social landscape of Spanish society since the late 1970s.
In Rocking the Boat, Bermúdez examines the lyrics of songs by both renowned and up and coming artists to illuminate how these new migrants challenged Spain’s notions of homogeneity, boundaries, accommodation, and incorporation. Bermúdez observes that immigration has had such a significant influence on Spanish society that the tattered boats, seen to this day on the shores of Spain and throughout the Mediterranean Sea, have become inverted emblems of the ships that were once symbols of great power and economic development. Rocking the Boat is a nuanced account of how popular urban music shaped the discourse on immigration, transnational migrants, and racialization in Spain’s new social landscape.
- Series: Toronto Iberic
- World Rights
- Page Count: 200 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.5in x 9.5in
"Silvia Bermúdez’s latest book Rocking the Boat offers a timely look into how musical narratives produced in Spain serve as cultural responses to legislative measures to secure entry into Europe, and portray the experiences of transnational migrants from the early 1980s to 2011… Bermúdez’s thorough close reading and clear prose make Rocking the Boat a good selection for undergraduate seminars and graduate course syllabi, and Hispanists and music specialists will also appreciate her multidisciplinary approach."
Angela Acosta, The Ohio State University
"Rocking the Boat is an exciting read about a timely topic. The detailed analyses of popular songs (their lyrics, music, context of production, and reception) demonstrate how the Spanish society of the last three decades has conceived a racialized image of the migrant subject that has triggered a number of emotional reactions including fear, anxiety, and solidarity. The scholarship is impressive and so is Bermúdez’s critical acumen."
Jorge Pérez, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Texas at Austin
"Rocking the Boat represents a major contribution to research. Silvia Bermúdez’s work is the first book that analyses extensively and profoundly the impact of immigration in contemporary Spanish popular music, providing a fascinating look at cultural complexities of race, class, gender, and surrounding immigration in globalized Spain. Using both a panoramic wide-angle lens and a well-focused macro lens, Rocking the Boat provides a ground-breaking critical analysis of a new area of study, as well as an in-depth and insightful close reading of well-selected popular songs and relevant texts."
Jose Colmeiro, Prince of Asturias Chair in Spanish, School of European Languages and Literatures, University of Auckland, NZ
"Silvia Bermúdez rocks the boat with her original analysis of immigration and race relations in contemporary Spain through her brilliant reading of popular songs over the last four decades. It is destined to become an indispensable reference for all future studies of Spanish popular culture."
Anthony L. Geist, Department of Comparative Literature, Cinema and Media, University of Washington.
"Written in a highly accessible prose, which makes this work perfect for the undergraduate classroom, this unique cultural study of song lyrics will not only appeal to scholars of contemporary Spanish culture, but also to anybody researching migratory flows, transnational subjectivities and solidarities, European racism, music as a social and political force, and the power of contemporary lyrics both to reflect political ambiguities about race and to denounce systemic racism ingrained in long histories of coloniality."
Gema Pérez-Sánchez, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Miami
Author InformationSilvia Bermúdez is a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
1. The Roaring 1980s: From La Movida to Racial Naming, Slavery, and Muslims in the Catalan Maresme
2. The 1990s, Take One: Fortress Europe, Racism, Apologies, and Contestation
3. The 1990s, Take Two: The Racial Profiling of Black and Maghrebi Migrant Subject
4. Twenty-First Century Musical Landscapes in Spain: From Ska and Música mestiza to Singing, Chilling and Rapping against Racism
Subjects and Courses