César Colón-Montijo

Presidential Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Office Phone
343 East Pyne


César Colón-Montijo is an ethnomusicologist, journalist, and documentary filmmaker. He completed a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at Columbia University in 2018, holds a M.A. in Anthropology and Audiovisual communication from the University of Barcelona, Spain, and earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. His research and teaching span Puerto Rican, Caribbean, and Latin American media and cultural studies, with particular interests on articulations of music, sound, religion, masculinity, race, illness, and empire. He has taught courses on topics ranging from media theory, documentaries, cross-cultural listening and sound, and on Western and Caribbean music.

Colón-Montijo is the editor of Cocinando Suave: Ensayos de Salsa en Puerto Rico (2015), a collection of historical and journalistic essays, poems, and photo-essays about salsa in Puerto Rico. In 2016, he published Viaje a la Casita: Notas de Plena en el Rincón Criollo, a short ethnography about Puerto Rican culture and music in the South Bronx. His doctoral dissertation, entitled Specters of Maelo: An Ethnographic Biography of Ismael 'Maelo' Rivera, studies the life, music, and myth of Afro-Puerto Rican salsa singer Maelo Rivera through ethnographic inquiry conducted in Venezuela, Panama, and Puerto Rico. Colón-Montijo is currently working on a set of overlapping projects: transforming his dissertation into a series of articles, and also on a book manuscript tentatively entitled Después de tanta salsa: Variaciones maeleras. Beyond his dissertation, he is conducting research for a long-term book project examining the crossings of anthropology, pharmacology, colonialism, music, and sound in Puerto Rico.