Faculty Profile

Juan Diego Díaz
Assistant Professor of Music

Juan Diego Díaz is an ethnomusicologist with a geographic research interest in Africa and its diaspora, particularly Brazil and West Africa. He is interested in how African diasporic musics circulate and transform across the Atlantic and how they serve individuals and communities in identity formation. He uses a variety of approaches including close musical analysis, timeline theory, groove analysis, phenomenology of the body, and discourse analysis. He is also a long-term Capoeira Angola practitioner and has led capoeira and samba ensembles.

Previous to UC Davis, Juan Diego held posts as a lecturer at the University of Ghana and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Essex, the latter funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The funded research investigates the music of the descendants of freed enslaved Africans who resettled from Brazil to Ghana, Togo, and Benin during the nineteenth century. This research has produced a book called Tabom Voices: A History of the Ghanaian Afro-Brazilian Community in Their Own Words (2016) and the documentary film “Tabom in Bahia” (2017), documenting the visit of a Ghanaian master drummer to Bahia, Brazil.

Juan Diego is currently completing a book manuscript on the musical construction of Afro-diasporic identities in Bahia, Brazil, under contract with Oxford University Press. His articles appear in journals such as Ethnomusicology, Ethnomusicology Forum, and Analytical Approaches to World Music.  

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