Artivism: Orchestrating Activism: Notes on Music, Audience, & History from 1930s Brazil, with Micah Oelze
In this talk, Micah Oelze shares his research on the profoundly musical politics of interwar Brazil.
In 1934, a scandal erupted in São Paulo. The city’s sole black political party (the Black Brazilian Front) denounced their bandleader for “traitorous” actions and “machiavellian strategies.” The public firing of the composer and activist Alfredo Pires was about more than musical taste; it was about fierce differences in ideology.
During this presentation, Micah Oelze uses the case of fired bandleader Alfredo Pires as an opportunity to see how musical work was not above the fray of polarized politics. Oelze then reflects on insights the case might offer those working toward social activism today.
Micah Oelze is a musician and a history professor at New York’s Adelphi University. As a historian, Oelze teaches on Latin America and offers special courses on Brazil and the Caribbean. He is currently finishing a book project on 1930s Brazil, zooming in on a series of collaborations between music composers and social psychologists who sought to use the concert hall as a site for social engineering and reform. As a musician, he plays the seven-string classical guitar, specializing in the style of instrumental music called chorinho, also from Brazil in the 1930s. Micah Oelze received his PhD from Miami’s Florida International University.
The vision of Artivism: The Power of Art for Social Transformation is to generate a movement with committed social artivists in response to historic global unrest. Artivism aims to generate community through multi-disciplinary teamwork for a more dignified and meaningful coexistence, however you define these terms. The goal of this initiative is to nurture confidence in taking continuous action from wherever you are by means of reciprocity.
Artivism: The Power of Art Social Transformation, grew out of Illuminations of Social Imagination: Learning From Maxine Greene, (Dio Press, 2019), edited by Teachers College alumni Courtney Weida and Carolina Cambronero-Varela, and Dolapo Adeniji-Neill, of Adelphi University. “The concept for this book is inspired by the late Maxine Greene (2000), who described her enduring philosophical focus and legacy of social imagination as “the capacity to invent visions of what should be and what might be in our deficient society, on the streets where we live, in our schools” (p. 5). The purpose of this volume is to examine and illuminate the roles of community organizers and educators who are changing lives through public art and community arts projects. This research originally emerged from a well-attended 2018 conference presentation and exhibition at Teachers College, Columbia University, engaging with the local and international community of arts education and arts administration.”
— Publisher’s Description
Artivism: The Power of Art Social Transformation is jointly sponsored by Adelphi University, Sing for Hope, and the Gottesman Libraries.