Sacred Iconographies shows how Chicanas look beyond local histories and confront new asymmetries produced by transnational systems in the era of globalization. Empowered by the rich traditions of their indigenous spiritualities, Chicanas expose the failures of these systems that claim to pursue the betterment of all, while actually remaining indifferent to, or possibly ignorant of, the poor of color and the poor around the globe. By centering the discussion on these spiritual traditions, sometimes elided or glossed over by scholarship, in spite of the fact that they are fundamental to Chicana literature and art, Sacred Iconographies offers an innovative feminist framework for Chicana studies—a framework that aims to develop new critical lines in cross-cultural research within the U.S. and beyond.
Interview with Clara Román-Odio
“This landmark publication advances the fields of de-colonial liberation, divinity, and cultural studies. In these pages our guides are ‘anti-icons’ who stand against systems of domination, the divine mothers Tonantzin, Mary, Coatlaxopeuh, the Virgin de Guadalupe, the feminine and the matrilineal, here to teach us twenty-first-century spiritualties of dissent. Today these figures are facilitating an emerging planetary culture that functions beyond and without borders. This book’s method makes their presence visible – but only if readers are able to think in and through a de-colonizing feminism that is at once spiritual, political, global, and Chicana.” – Chela Sandoval, author of Methodology of the Oppressed
“Sacred Iconographies in Chicana Cultural Productions examines methodological and pedagogical strategies for understanding how La Virgen de Guadalupe has served and continues to serve as a venue for artistic and literary expressions of Chicana feminist ways of knowing.” – Josie Méndez-Negrete, Associate Professor, Mexican American Studies, College of Education and Human Development, University of Texas at San Antonio, USAFiled under New Publications | Comment (0)
By Angela Onwuachi-Willig
Featured at The Chronicle
Excerpted from Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, ed. Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. González, and Angela P. Harris, Utah State University Press, 2012).
Silence as Action
As an untenured professor, I learned firsthand about the power of silence by observing the conduct of a senior male colleague of color at the first law school where I worked. I recall my initial surprise at his silence during most faculty meetings, especially given his stature as a highly respected faculty member. His silence stood in stark contrast to the frequent speech of many of our white, male senior colleagues, some of whom voiced their opinions on every matter—repeatedly. I wanted to learn from my colleague’s opinions, but, in the end, I learned more from his silence. As I watched him throughout the year, I understood that his silences were, at least in part, strategic. They gave him a powerful voice when he spoke in public settings. I later learned that he did much of his speaking outside of the public faculty eye—in private.
Through him, I learned that we have to become comfortable enough with silences to know when to read them and nurture them into spoken voice. As the legal scholar Dorothy Roberts said in her article “Paradox of Silence”: “One possibility is that by employing silence, the professor subverts the dominant style of speech in law-school classrooms. By breaking through the fast-paced aggressive banter, typically dominated by white, male students, silence allows less aggressive students of color to compose their thoughts and to participate.” Undoubtedly, silence can be powerful. But when are the silences harmful? And how can such harm be prevented?
The Harmful Effects of Silence
We—female faculty of color—can be silenced in many aspects of our job. We can be silenced through our difficulties in saying no to extra service burdens that involve diversity, especially where we know our voices will not otherwise be represented; or through our shame in talking about the daily biases we face in the classroom, biases that are often invisible to white colleagues; or through our feelings that we are impostors in the academic world. We have to ask ourselves, How can we balance the act of not speaking without losing self and yet speak without losing the game?
Read complete excerpt at the Chronicle here
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By Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez
For The Feminist Wire (10/23/12)
Is it a coincidence that Disney launched the promotional campaign for its first Hispanic Princess Sofia weeks before the 2012 Presidential election? Maybe. But I can’t help but ponder the larger implications of thinking through “Hispanic” activists being “pissed” about the new Disney princess not debuting in a feature film without linking it to Obama’s fluctuating position on immigration.
In a time of crisis, where numerous Latino children and their families are targets for deportation and criminalized for their brown skin, Princess Sofia is a distraction. Historically speaking, Sofia might be Disney’s first princess, but there are other famous and royals and Sofias who carry Hispanic herencia, including Sofía, current Reina de España and Sofía Vergara, Columbian comedienne, reina of ABC’s Modern Family, and how could we forget the reina of Tejano music, Selena as a part of this amalgam. Thus, we might read Disney’s Princess Sofia as a intertextual citation of these three reinas, and a means of creating a Diva figure for Latina/o youth to emulate and identify with.
As scholar Deborah Paredez has noted about youth who perform the Latina Diva’s legacy through song and affect, “donning the outfit of a diva…harnesses the power of Selena’s embodiment of becoming to convey her own non-traditional, non-white budding sexuality.”3 But here’s the hitch with Princess Sofia’s Diva pose: instead of proposing brown skin as a positive, and potentially boundary-breaking figure that disrupts normativity, her whiteness and accidental Princessness (she’s adopted and saved by a royal family) recapitulate to the original and somewhat false signification of whiteness associated with la reinaSofía and España and not necessarily the other versions of being a queen posed by Vergara and Selena.
Original article continues at The Feminist Wire
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Equity & Excellence in Education 45:3, 363-72 (2012)
Dolores Delgado Bernal, Rebeca Burciaga & Judith Flores Carmona,
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While the genre of testimonio has deep roots in oral cultures and in Latin American human rights struggles, the publication and subsequent adoption of This Bridge called My Back (Moraga & Anzaldua, 1983) and more recently Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios (Latina Feminist group, 2001) by Chicanas and Latinas, have demonstrated the power of testimonio as a genre that exposes brutality, disrupts silencing, and builds solidarity among women of color (Anzaldua, 1990). Within the field of education, scholars are increasingly taking up testimonio as a pedagogical, methodological, and activist approach to social justice that transgresses traditional paradigms in academia. Unlike the more common training of researchers to produce unbiased knowledge, testimonio challenges objectivity by situating the individual in communion with a collective experience marked by marginalization, oppression, or resistance. These approaches have resulted in new understandings about how marginalized communities build solidarity and respond to and resist dominant culture, laws, and policies that perpetuate inequity. This special issue contributes to our understanding of testimonio as it relates to methdology, pedagogy, research, and reflection within a social justice education framework. A common thread among these articles is a sense of political urgency to address educational inequities within Chicana/o and Latina/o communities.
Congrats to Rose Mary Borunda and Melissa Moreno on their new book, Speaking from the Heart: Herstories of Chicana, Latina, and Amerindian Women!
At the heart of Speaking from the Heart: Herstories of Chicana, Latina, and Amerindian Women are cultural narratives, trajectories toward decolonization offered by Chicana, Latina, and Amerindian women. The series of cultural narratives in this collection interrogate the universal history commonly taught in schools and society and focus on the cultural knowledge used to resist and negotiate the deep effects of cultural colonization in everyday life. These accounts of experiential knowledge and epistemology chronicle a sense of belonging and web of relationships which provide snapshots of a larger and more inclusive cultural narrative. We call these Herstories. The series of narratives and discussion questions in this collection are intended to facilitate the deconstruction of the master narrative and promote critical thinking.
Readers of Speaking from the Heart are invited to:
- engage in a critical examination of what one has previously learned about the self and culture(s).
- unveil states of submersion within a reality that has been constructed by others in power.
- develop the capacity to understand the essence of subjectivity and the capacity to reexamine one’s positionality in the world.
- critically reflect on their own narrative.
Contributors include Jennie Luna, Maria Mejorado, Michelle Maher, Julie Figueroa, Angie Chabram, Cindy Cruz, Rebecca Rosa, Sofia Villenas, Margarita I. Berta-Avila, Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner, and Ruth Trinidad-Galván. This book can be of use in Mexican American, Chicana/o, Latino Studies, Ethnic Studies, Education, Women Studies, and English courses.
Rose Mary Borunda & Melissa Moreno
DR. YOLANDA BROYLES-GONZÁLEZ BOOK RELEASE & SIGNING
The University of Arizona’s Native American Red Ink Magazine is proud to host the launch event of Professor Yolanda Broyles-González’s new book Earth Wisdom: A California Chumash Woman, written in collaboration with Chumash native elder Pilulaw Khus. The event will take place 7:00 p.m., Friday, February 3, 2012 at Antigone Book Store located at 311 N. 4th Avenue in Tucson, Arizona.
Broyles-González gathered the oral history of Pilulaw Khus for over ten years. This book provides a new vision of California history and an important vision for the survival of our planet. This is a groundbreaking Indigenous women’s history volume.
In Earth Wisdom: A California Chumash Woman, Khus narrates the history of California and of the state’s Indigenous peoples’ from a native woman’s perspective. She includes her personal story of over four decades of activism in tribal, environmental, and human rights issues. That powerful history is both deeply spiritual and political; it constitutes an important segment of the Civil Rights Movement.
Yolanda Broyles-González provides an extensive introduction, carefully providing context to Khus’s narrative, as well as to the periods before, during, and after European colonization of California. She challenges many of the widely held assumptions put forward by anthropologists and historians, as she unfolds an Indigenous understanding of gender, of history, of the universe. The book is the first to document 20th Century Chumash re-emergence struggles, such as the yearlong Point Conception Occupation (1978).
Reviewers of Earth Wisdom sing its praises:
“This is one of the most extraordinary collaborations between a scholar and Indigenous activist that I have read.” –Prof. Greg Cajete, Director of Native American Studies at the University of New Mexico
“Yolanda Broyles-González’s book on the Chumash of Santa Barbara is superb.” –Rudy Acuña, author of Occupied America and professor at California State University Northridge
“Exemplary meeting of activism and scholarship brings the reader a wealth of accessible information that penetrates well beyond surface gleam (. . .) Partake in the earth wisdom of a people who revolted and revolutionize still.” –Allison Hedge Coke, author of Blood Run
Dr. Yolanda Broyles-González is an elder of the Yaqui Barrio Libre ceremonial community in Tucson, Arizona and Professor of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. Pilulaw Khus is a Chumash ceremonial elder and clan mother of the northern Chumash Bear Clan.EartFiled under General News, New Publications | Comment (0)
Maylei Blackwell, ¡Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011.
Reviewed by Miroslava Chávez-García
Until now, no one has published a history of the struggle of Chicanas in the Chicano movement—the mass political mobilization of Mexican American peoples in the Southwest US in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The glaring omission is somewhat perplexing, says author Maylei Blackwell, given that Las Hijas de Cuahtemoc (The Daughters of Cuahtemoc, the last emperor of the Aztecs), the first and leading feminist organization of the Chicano movement, emerged alongside other well-known organizations, such as the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA), and that women served as the backbone of the student movement. The oversight is due, in part, she says, to the historical dominance of men in the fields of Chicana/o History and Studies, their implicit disinterest in issues of gender and sexuality, and their explicit marginalization of women in the movement. Blackwell suggests too that stereotypes of Chicanas as malinchistas (traitors), vendidas (sell-outs), and agringadas (white-women wannabes), as well as Chicana scholars’ fear of confirming these negative images, has kept many away from this field of study. Thus, Blackwell’s genealogy of Chicana feminists in the twentieth century is a breakthrough in our knowledge about these mujeres (women).