Bat City: Becoming with Bats in the Austin Music Scene

How to Cite

Graper, J. (2019). Bat City: Becoming with Bats in the Austin Music Scene. MUSICultures, 45(1-2). Retrieved from


In the 1990s, Bruno Latour contested the idea that modern societies are defined by their separation from the natural world. In this essay, I offer a case study from Austin, TX, examining how human-bat relationships have blurred the lines between the natural and the cultural in a process that I term “becoming with,” following Donna Haraway. I begin by discussing negative stereotypes about bats drawn from both colonial history and anti- immigrant narratives. I then explore the development of Austin into the “Bat City,” a process which radically revised these colonial preconceptions. Finally, I explore a musical case study that exemplifies Austin's relationship to its local bat colony: horror-surf band the Bat City Surfers, who describe themselves as evolutionary descendants of bats.
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