As a Cultural Anthropologist trained in Linguistic Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, and Folklore, Chávez is committed to an integrative Anthropology that applies the tools of these sub-disciplinary fields to the realm of Latina/o Studies. His research explores Latina/o expressive culture in everyday life as manifested through language, expressive culture, and sound. The primary questions that inform his work are: How do expressive negotiations participate in place-making and community-binding across both material and cultural divides? How do Latina/o communities leverage these forms of expression—as aesthetic and communicative resources—to comment upon and negotiate the social structures they emerge out of? His work also bridges scholarship and creative expression as a means to explore how performance intersects with larger social concerns surrounding mobility, racialized personhood, and the intimacies that bind everyday life across physical and cultural borders. In this regard, he has consistently crossed the boundary between performer and ethnographer in both Mexico and the United States. As a student and practitioner of various Mexican folk musics for nearly two decades, he has engaged in music-making alongside his interlocuters, transforming his own experiences into a unique perspective on the body politics of performance that has shaped his understanding of how people cross various types of borders.
He has published in the Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, Latino Studies, Latin American Music Review, Southern Cultures, Música Oral del Sur, and has contributed to Celebrating Latino Folklore (2012), Iconic Mexico (2015), Latino, American, Dream (2016), Making Sense of Language (2016), in addition to Con La Música a Otra Parte (2010) published with the support of the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y Las Artes in Mexico.