2013 - 2014 CRG Forum Series
Bios reflect speakers' status at the time of their presentation at the Center for Race and Gender.
Bios reflect speakers' status at the time of their presentation at the Center for Race and Gender.
04.29.2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
04.24.2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
We exist during a changing landscape of U.S. “equality,” with certain once-outcast identities now seduced by the neoliberal, capitalist economy and assimilated into normative notions of belonging. While certain bodies become recognizable subjects, other bodies are narrowly constructed as internal enemies that fuel the illusion of equality; we witness dangerous boundary-shifting between legitimate subjects and illegitimate (non)subjects…
It is no secret that the U.S. has undergone massive penal expansion over the past several decades. California alone has the highest prison population among all 50 states. To no surprise, certain bodies have become channeled into the penal system amid this new backdrop of neoliberal insecurity in a nation-state of progressive equality. As transgender identities become an unarticulated threat against neoliberal belonging, intersections of their multifaceted identities and experiences (including race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status), make them extremely vulnerable to surveillance and interaction with the penal system and, furthermore, to harm within the system.
The intersection of fears around street safety and economic precarity of the 1970s and 1980s, led to a logic that values the protection of certain bodies and renders others disposable. Across the nation, devalued, racialized, and othered bodies experienced increased surveillance and violence for the sake of protection of some. This allowed for a multitude of anti-homeless legislation that is founded within a context of neoliberal paternalism, creating a class of people we understand as homeless, and asking them to manage themselves in accordance to normative lifestyles, and seeking to diagnose and fix themselves. How can we reimagine public space as a potential resource for marginalized identities?
Marginalized by historical, institutional, and societal ideologies of neoliberalism, capitalism, “universal citizenship,” bio-political power, and regulation, homeless women are perpetually denied the protection, rights, and access to services available to productive citizens. Restrictions on these women’s lives and bodies are imbedded in legislature, forcing an external “hierarchy of needs” that dictates an assimilationist pathway to societal reintegration. As members of a devalued, impoverished class, homeless women are conceptualized by the state as non-sexual bodies to justify the discouragement of their reproduction, which is reflected in the provision of sexual and reproductive health services that restrict autonomy.
… Through our various investments in empowering vulnerable populations, we have come to realize the interconnectedness of our struggles and the necessary coalitions we must build to achieve our liberation. Our projects demand we interrogate our own boundaries of belonging and end our complicity in upholding violent fantasies that especially harm the most marginalized among us.
04.03.2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
Sonic Sovereignty in D’Arcy McNickle’s The Surrounded
Prof. Beth Piatote, Native American Studies
This presentation examines the employment of sound, particularly Salish singing and drumming, in articulating alternative boundaries of Flathead/Salish communities that extend beyond the reservation and the visual surveillance scope of the law. Drawing upon the context of the reservation as a legally “surrounded” site, and building on her previous work that understands D’Arcy McNickle’s novel as, in part, a critique of Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, Piatote shows how the novel incorporates alternative forms of cultural expression, such as Indian music and drumming, to foreground the political aims of Indigenous cultural expression that reveal a politics of resistance to state power.
Narrativizing Trauma and the Trauma of Narration: A Commentary on Some Indigenous Writings of Northeast India
Cherrie Chhangte, Mizoram University, India
Northeast India is the eastern-most region of India connected to East India via a narrow corridor squeezed between Nepal and Bangladesh. It comprises the contiguous Seven Sister States—Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura—and the Himalayan state of Sikkim. Isolated not just geographically, but culturally and otherwise from the rest of India, this region has seen numerous struggles from its indigenous people which have been variously referred to as uprisings, insurgencies, revolutions, rebellions and so on in a bid for self preservation and autonomy, among other things.
03.20.2014| 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
03.13.2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
02.27.2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
03.13.2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
12.05.2013 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
Meditations on Mammy: Asexuality and Blackness
Ianna Hawkins Owen, African Diaspora Studies
The Asexual Visibility and Education Network functions simultaneously as a message board based community and as an advocacy organization advancing the claim that asexuals are “just like everybody else.” In this context, black asexuals on AVEN have created threads/posts seeking out other black asexual users. Non-POC responses in these threads have employed various color-blind strategies that reveal the trouble the black asexual poses to the campaign of fusing “asexual” with “everybody else.” After nearly ten years of isolated posts/threads, a permanent thread was created to centralize posts by asexual people of color. In light of this newly institutionalized nexus of black and asexual, this paper meditates on the oft-cited asexuality of the historical figure of the Mammy and asks how thinking through her constructed image might become valuable to the project of finding the black asexual. This paper intends to engage issues of temporality, relations of power, and the ethics of “using” the Mammy. Moreover, if asexuality is a kind of failure of a normative mode of desiring, of reproductivity, and if blackness is almost universally hypersexualized, how do we situate the black asexual via our memory of the Mammy figure? Her body acts as a site that demands conversation between Lee Edelman’s radical queer anti-futurity and Hortense Spillers’ impossible black gender/sexuality, confronting the questions: is black always already sexual? Is a black asexual possible? What is generated by the woman (slave and enslaved to nostalgia) remembered as non-generative?
11.21.2013| 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
11.14.2014 | 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
Panelists will discuss race, gender and social movements based on their practical experience and research with the reproductive justice movement.
Impossible Conversations: The Bottleneck of Race in the Pursuit of Reproductive Justice and Movement Building
Dr. Sujatha Jesudason, CoreAlign, UCSF
In every conversation that CoreAlign (a national sexual and reproductive justice movement building initiative) has hosted since 2012, the issue of race has emerged as a conversation stopper. Since before the emergence of the reproductive justice movement, reproductive health and rights advocates have been criticized for the lack of inclusion and visibility of women of color. In the last ten years, a whole cadre of women of color leaders has emerged, particularly as leaders of reproductive justice organizations. However, the ability to understand, discuss and integrate a nuanced analysis of race has continued to elude the leaders and rank and file members of this field. Now, with the creation of a new national network and space to innovate and envision a new movement, the issue of race has become a bottleneck in moving forward. The “right women of color” are never in the room, there are never “enough women of color” and white women and women of color are talked about as essentialized and blunt categories. In this presentation, I will talk about all the ways that race is used as a conversation stopper and an impossible barrier to work through in pursuit of justice. I will share the lessons that we’ve learned about race, gender and movement building, and the ways in which CoreAlign is designing experimenting with “Impossible Conversations” to create the possibilities of working through to more innovative, subtle, concrete and analytical understandings of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability and immigration.
Truly a Women of Color Organization: Race, Gender, and Production of Intersectional Organization Identity
Dr. Zakiya Luna, Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice
This presentation focuses on how intersectionality is claimed by movements and put into practice in movements. In many reproductive justice discussions, “intersectionality” becomes the way to signify how the movement makes space for participants’ multiple subordinated identities in ways that other movements cannot (subordinated intersectional politics). However, this can elide the way intersectional analysis is happening in other movements, romaticizes intersectionality and fails to engage thoroughly with whether the movement’s use of intersectionality has to go beyond providing alternatives to the privilege in other movements (e.g., in the “white women’s movement”) to internal analysis of how privilege is enacted within that movement (e.g. heterosexism in reproductive justice work). The implicit assumption in much (feminist sociological) literature is that women of ethnic /racial minorities can more easily work together in their spaces due to being able to avoid the conflicts that occur when doing “cross-racial” work with Whites. However, cross racial work also occurs when coming together as “women of color” because, like other identities, this category does not exist a priori. The women are of many colors, i.e., racial backgrounds, differing ethnic histories, varying class statuses and so on ultimately constituting a coalition. Enacting intersectionality relies on practical strategies of: explicit identification of “us” as women of color (who are we, difficulties we face);a “same difference” politics that highlights internal diversity to demonstrate similar pathways and same political goal, which often subsumes difference; emphasizing external difference from the “other” of Whites and invoking a metaphor of an idealized family. It is a complex practical effort to claim an organizational position of representing women of color by correcting the exclusionary tendencies of other movements while avoiding accusations of false promises and, perhaps most damagingly, of being little better than the organizations in the movements against which the organizational identity has been composed.
10.24.2013| 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
Tejiendo La Memoria: Guatemalan Women Contesting Violence during La Guerra Civil and its aftermath”
Carolyn Vera, Ethnic Studies, Chicano/a Studies
In this paper, I interrogate the performance art of two Guatemalan performance artists, Regina Jose Galindo and Maria Adela Diaz, emphasizing the ways they use performance art to intervene in Guatemala’s history of gendered violence. Focusing on the experience of the civil war (1960-1996) and its aftermath, I argue that this intervention summons silenced narratives of collective memory and trauma. In doing so, these artists chronicle a history of gendered violence systematically erased from the nation’s archives and sanctioned accounts of Guatemalan history. I propose that the performances reposition the marginalized memories of indigenous women in particular. Engaging Cecilia Menjívar’s conceptualization of ‘normalized violence’ in Guatemala and Diana Taylor’s theorizations of the ‘spectacles of gender and nationness,’ I assert that Diaz and Galindo push against the all too generalized belief that the violence of the Guatemalan Civil War does not permeate through the present. By centering marginalized memories of feminicide, military violence, and genocide, I propose that the artists perform acts of remembering and knowledge as forms of resistance.
“¿Desarollo Para Quienes?” Maya Women’s Resistance Against Megaprojects in Guatemala
Zully Juarez, Gender and Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies
On June 23rd 2007, the community of Santa Cruz Barillas organized a referendum where approximately 50, 000 people voted, rejecting mining and other hydroelectric projects within their municipality. However, in 2009, Hidralia Energia, a Spanish owned hydroelectric company, arrived in Santa Cruz Barillas planning a series of dams, ultimately leading to protests rejecting the presence of this company in their lands.
This project explores how Maya women have defended both their land and bodies simultaneously, through the case of Hydro Santa Cruz. My methodology involves 6 qualitative interviews as well as participant observation at a local radio station. This research took place in Santa Cruz Barillas, a municipality in the northern department of Huehuetenango, Guatemala, with a population of 130,000, the majority of whom are Maya Q’anjob’al. Findings include a difference in gendered response to colonialism. When local residents received threats from Hydro Santa Cruz after refusing to sell or leave their land, men had more mobility to leave the home and go into hiding where as women who also received the same threats had less mobility because they had to secure the safety of their children and land. Women made a strong statement about the importance of defending mother earth and observed a connection between the Spanish hydroelectric company, the colonial invasion, and the 36-year Civil War (1960-1996), terming this megaproject as a “new invasion”.
By examining the conditions of indigenous women and their connection to the land, as Andrea Smith has observed, colonial sexual violence establishes the dominant colonial ideology that Native bodies are inherently violable, particularly women’s, and by extension, that Native lands are also inherently violable (Smith 2005: 12), one can analyze how indigenous communities are violated through a variety of state policies and sexual assault impacting the lives of women, as explored in this project.
10.10.2013| 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
Presenters share findings from their recent publications on 1960s revolutionary US social movements for racial justice.
Black against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party
Prof. Waldo Martin, History
Black against Empire is the first comprehensive overview and analysis of the history and politics of the Black Panther Party. The authors analyze key political questions, such as why so many young black people across the country risked their lives for the revolution, why the Party grew most rapidly during the height of repression, and why allies abandoned the Party at its peak of influence. Bold, engrossing, and richly detailed, this book cuts through the mythology and obfuscation, revealing the political dynamics that drove the explosive growth of this revolutionary movement, and its disastrous unraveling. Informed by twelve years of meticulous archival research, as well as familiarity with most of the former Party leadership and many rank-and-file members, this book is the definitive history of one of the greatest challenges ever posed to American state power.
Sancho’s Journal: Exploring the Political Edge with the Brown Berets
Prof. David Montejano, Ethnic Studies
How do people acquire political consciousness, and how does that consciousness transform their behavior? Sancho’s Journal presents a rich ethnography of daily life among the “batos locos” (crazy guys) as they joined the Brown Berets and became associated with the greater Chicano movement in the 1970s. Montejano describes the motivations that brought young men into the group and shows how they learned to link their individual troubles with the larger issues of social inequality and discrimination that the movement sought to redress. He also recounts his own journey as a scholar who came to realize that, before he could tell this street-level story, he had to understand the larger history of Mexican Americans and their struggle for a place in U.S. society. Sancho’s Journal completes that epic story.
09.26.2013| 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
This panel explores the ways in which sound articulates race, nation, culture, and sexuality. Examining the work of several artists, we illustrate the varied aesthetic strategies they have used to pose alternative possibilities for the expression of marginalized identities in the sonic realm and beyond.
Sounding Unity: Paul Robeson’s Afro Asian Interruption
Prof. Tamara Roberts, Music
Tamara will look closely at Chee Lai: Songs of New China, an album on which Paul Robeson recorded several Chinese folksongs and articulated a “politics of affinity” between African American and Chinese struggles against domination. Robeson was a key artist who worked to create a sonic analog to the anti-colonial uprisings of the early and mid-20th century. For decades he performed and recorded folksongs from around the world, establishing an aesthetic vocabulary for Third World politics based on cultural pride, the voice of the working class, and intercultural, interracial, and international solidarity. In doing so, he presented a notion of cultural similarity based on the experience of oppression—rather than race or nation—as well as a conception of community that stretched beyond a singular racial or cultural label. Naturalizing racial and cultural juxtapositions in a way that was rarely seen prior on U.S. stages, Robeson’s “music of color” laid the groundwork for subsequent artists and exchanges.
Sounding Chicana/o Narratives: Feminist Affinities, Queer Sonorities
Wanda Alarcón, Ethnic Studies
09.12.2013| 4:00 – 5:30 PM | 691 Barrows Hall
Prof. Beatriz Manz, Ethnic Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies
Respondent: Prof. Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Ethnic Studies, Gender Women’s Studies
This year marked a history-making trial when former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Rios Montt was found guilty of the genocide of more than 1,700 indigenous Ixil Mayans by his own country’s judicial system. Prof. Beatriz Manz testified at the trial as an expert eyewitness, sharing critical evidence that she gathered in 1982 when she went into the Lacandon jungle in Mexico to take testimonies of refugees and document the military atrocities taking place. Her research focused specifically on the Ixil area in the highlands of Guatemala in March 1983 — the site of the charge of genocide committed on the Ixil Maya population.
Prof. Manz will discuss those testimonies, her experience at the trial, and the implications of Rios Montt’s conviction which was overturned and continues to be contested. She will also reflect on the 40th anniversary of “the other 9/11,” the date marking the US-backed coup by General Augusto Pinochet in Chile which resulted in the arrest, imprisonment, torture, and execution of tens of thousands of people.