Student Wins Student Professional Development Award
Chris Aguilar-Garcia Presents Paper at Prince-themed Conference, “Purple Reign” in Manchester, UK
“From arriving on the 1980’s music scene in bikini briefs, eyeliner and high heels, singing songs about incest and masturbation, to a fight for emancipation from recording industry contracts, the recording artist Prince believed that the power dynamics of sexuality and domination were key to liberation.”
The words come from the paper abstract of Antioch University Los Angeles BA student, Chris Aguilar-Garcia. AULA’s Undergraduate Studies division is co-sponsoring Aguilar-Garcia’s participation in the Purple Reign conference in the UK from May 24-27 via a Student Professional Development Award. The event is an interdisciplinary gathering exploring the life and legacy of Prince. Garcia’s presentation is titled: “New Power, Sexuality & Emancipation: The Revolutionary Queerness of Prince through a Foucauldian Lens.”
The international conference is hosted by the School of Arts and Media at the University of Salford, UK and the Department of Recording Industry at Middle Tennessee State University, USA. Aguilar-Garcia recalls, “I became a Prince fan over 30 years ago when heard ‘1999’ and ‘Little Red Corvette’ at the age of 12. As I entered junior high and began to grapple with my sexuality, this flamboyantly androgynous person presented to me a world where the otherness I knew could find a place to be and thrive. Through the Bachelor’s Completion Program at AULA, my work with a Liberal Studies major concentration and Queer Studies minor concentration largely focuses on contextualizing the influence of popular culture on my identity as a Queer person of color, particularly the work and lives of Prince and Madonna.”
Aguilar-Garcia’s paper is an exploration of art as a vehicle for personal transformation. “Through my participation in Purple Reign, I hope to impart both an understanding of the significance of the popular arts to the formation of identity, and also to help further the myriad understandings of ‘queerness’.”
Aguilar-Garcia is also quick to give credit to the AULA BA Program. He says, “The award underscores AULA’s commitment to nurturing student achievement and supporting scholarship and service. Although much of my life has been dedicated to studying Prince, AULA provided the resources and context to connect my lived experience to the larger academic and social conversations about identity, queerness, and community.”
The Antioch community heartily congratulates Aguilar-Garcia on both his award and acceptance to the conference!