Deborah R. Vargas
I earned my doctorate in sociology with an emphasis in feminist studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz. My research and teaching areas include Chicano/Latino cultural studies, critical race feminisms, queer of color critique, popular culture, feminist ethnography, borderlands theory, and oral history methods. My first book, Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) draws on Chicana feminism, cultural studies, and queer of color analysis to examine the ways in which Chicana singers push the heteronormative limits of what I refer to as sonic imaginaries of borderlands music. Among the oral histories I have conducted, those with Lydia Mendoza, Eva Ybarra, and Rosita Fernández are included in the Smithsonian Institute's Latino Music Oral History Project. Currently, I am conducting research for my next book that explores Chicana genders and sexualities in settings of sonic socialites, from the mid-nineteenth century to the early-twentieth century. I am also working on a critical biography of Chicana rock-and-roll singer Gloria Ríos.
Fellowships awarded: Ford Foundation, UC Office of the President, Smithsonian Institute, UC Humanities Research Institute, UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center Frontera Music Collection, and the UC Center for New Racial Studies.
Vargas, Deborah R. “Rita Vidaurri’s Pants: The Charro Traje and Trans-sensuality.” Women & Performance: A Journal of Feminist Theory. Vol. 20, Issue 1 (March 2010), 3-14.
Vargas, Deborah R. “Borderland Bolerista: The Licentious Lyricism of Chelo Silva.” Feminist Studies. Spring/Summer 2008. Volume 34, Number 1-2, 173-197.Vargas, Deborah R. "Brown Country: Johnny Rodriguez" in Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies. Volume 32, Number 1, Spring 2007.