Northwestern University

Tue 5:00 PM

Geographies of Latinx Indigeneity: Transborder Circuits of Spirituality, Labor, and Gendered Embodiment

When: Tuesday, January 22, 2019
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM  

Where: Kresge Hall, 1-515, 1880 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Carlos Octavio Ballinas   847.467.3980

Group: The Latina and Latino Studies Program

Category: Academic


Lecture by: Maylei Blackwell (
César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies UCLA


Based on collaborative research on transborder community building and political participation among indigenous women migrants, this research seeks to better understand how indigenous migrant women advocate for themselves as they navigate the multiple systems of racial meaning that shift, overlap, and hybridize in the process of migration. While migration is not new to indigenous peoples in the Americas, much of the scholarship has focused on urbanization and the loss of culture rather than how indigenous identity has actually become more vibrant in the migrant stream because of the new forms racism as well as new forms of community indigenous migrants have confronted and created respectively. Based on oral histories, community ethnography and digital storytelling, my presentation is a meditation on the spatial projects that are remapping geographies of indigeneity in Los Angeles that include spiritual geographies, circuits of labor and practices of gendered and racial embodiment. Given the 250,000 Indigenous Zapotec migrants who live and work in Los Angeles, not only are social-spatial relationships shifting in the city, so are the meanings of latinidad and indigeneity.


Maylei Blackwell is the author of ¡Chicana Power! Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement (University Texas Press, 2011). Her research has accompanied indigenous women’s organizers in Mexico, feminist movements and sexual rights activists throughout Latin American, and farm worker women’s organizing and indigenous migrant activism in Oaxacalifornia. Her current research focuses on cultural continuity and migrant civil society among Zapotecs and Mixtecs from Oaxaca as well as the increasingly Mayan diaspora from Guatemala in Los Angeles. She is currently completing a book entitled, Scales of Resistance: Indigenous Women’s Organizing and Transborder Communities and with Maria Cotera and Dionne Espinoza editing an anthology entitled ¡Chicana! New Narratives of Women’s Activism and Feminism in the Chicano Movement Era. Dr. Blackwell’s publications have appeared in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil in journals such as Meridians, Signs, Aztlán, Journal of Latin American Studies, Desacatos and Revista Estudos Feministas. She is an Associate Professor in Chicana and Chicano Studies and Gender Studies and is affiliated faculty in American Indian Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Currently, she co-directs the Mapping Indigenous Los Angeles Project, a digital story mapping project underway with indigenous communities of Los Angeles.

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