Jesús Ramos-Kittrell

Assistant Professor in Residence of Music History and Ethnomusicology

Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin

The work of Professor Ramos-Kittrell approaches sound and music as platforms to analyze the relationship of cultural phenomena to the socio-political structures organizing the practices that produce them. In his historical and ethnographic work, sound and music lie at the core of social processes that interrogate power asymmetries affecting issues of social, political, and cultural representation. As part of these processes, sound and music articulate identities and their histories in ways that neither deny nor overcome, but negotiate these imbalances. Thus, his research considers such cultural phenomena and the narratives of history they produce as contestatory practices that characterize modernity as a political project.

His published work covers the early modern period (sixteenth through eighteenth centuries) in the Americas and more current cultural analyses of globalization. His current book project focuses on the appropriation of Colombian music in the northeast of Mexico, and on how this appropriation has produced ideas of heritage and cultural belonging that decenter the importance of the nation-state.

Professor Ramos-Kittrell’s interest in these subjects relates not in small part to the transformative effect that the transnational dynamics of globalization in late modernity have had on his life. Born in Mexico, married to a native from Hungary, and raising two trilingual daughters in the United States (having all different passports, speaking three languages at home, and sustaining a life of constant migration to and from all three countries) he has become aware to how the different structures of discipline that he and his family constantly trespass affect their transcultural environment and how they imagine themselves. That is why issues of cultural difference and diversity, and political agency tend to permeate his teaching.

Previously, Professor Ramos-Kittrell has served as joint faculty of Ethnomusicology and Latin American Studies in the Newcomb Department of Music and the Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American Studies at Tulane University, as visiting scholar in the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, and as assistant professor of Musicology at Southern Methodist University.

Selected Publications


 Playing in the Cathedral: Music, Race, and Status in New Spain (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

 Editor, Decentering the Nation: Music, Mexicanidad, and Globalization – Forthcoming


“Music and Literature in Eighteenth-Century Mexico City,” in Luis Gordo Pelaez and John F. López, eds., A Companion to Early-Modern Mexico City (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publications, 2017).

“Ignacio Jerusalem: Politics in Music Thought with the Arrival of a Parvenu,” Revista de Musicología 38:1-2 (2015).

“Transnational Cultural Constructions: Cumbia Music and the making of Locality in Monterrey,” in Alejandro L. Madrid, ed., Transnational Encounters: Music and Performance at the U.S. – Mexico Border (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

Jesus Ramos-Kittrell
Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-5470
Office LocationDrama Music Building 158