Associate Professor Jacqueline Avila joins the Butler School of Music this fall. She is a musicologist who specializes in film music studies, sound studies and the intersections of identity, tradition and modernity in the musical cultures and new media of Mexico, Latin America and the Latinx community in the United States.
Tell us about the classes you’ll be teaching this year.
This fall, I am teaching Mexican Soundscapes, which focuses on the music and sound cultures that exist in Mexico and in Mexican-American communities in the United States. In the spring, I will be teaching a Music and Moving Image Course, which will examine the role and function of music and sound in film, television and streaming media across the globe.
What attracted you to the Butler School of Music and The University of Texas at Austin?
Overall, I’m attracted to the amazing faculty and the opportunities for research and teaching collaborations. I’m also drawn to the work that has been done and encouraged here in the Butler School of Music and in other departments across campus. For the new Expanding Approaches to American Arts initiative, I see a lot of potential for exploration and experimentation across different research areas, and I’m beyond thrilled to be a part of it.
How did your professional pathway lead to your focus?
I have always enjoyed watching movies. When I started my musical education, I not only watched movies, but I actively listened to them. I soon became aware of a field of study that focused on this topic, and I was hooked. One of my research areas is on Mexican cinema during the mid-20th century, which consists of a variety of films and musics that have impacted national culture in profound ways. Growing up in Southern California, I used to watch (and listen) to these movies with my dad, and this practice became a way for me to understand my family and our cultural heritage. My work has since centered on the visual and aural representation of cultural identities in cinema and how this has impacted our understanding of society.
What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?
I will pretty much watch and listen to any film. If someone recommends something to me for any reason, I will find it and watch and listen to it. On some occasions, I will also find a way to incorporate these recommendations in my classes.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not teaching/researching/working?
I love to cook and to bake. One of my passions is to try new recipes from cookbooks and reading memoirs about cooking (and eating). I love grocery shopping and experimenting in the kitchen.