Name, Location, and Date of the Event
National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Conference
April 14-19, 2015
San Francisco, CA
Nature/Type of the Event
The National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) conference is the annual meeting for Chicana/o Studies scholars. The focus of this year's conference is issue of civility and incivility within and outside the discipline. It brings together scholars across disciplines in the humanities and social sciences to connect academic departments and Chicana/o studies centers on issues of Chicana/o pedagogy and praxis.
Relevance of the Event for Applicant's Teaching & LMU Community, the Applicant's Involvement in the Event, & Expected Learning or Outcome
This year's conference theme "Chicana/o In/Civilities Contestation y Lucha: Cornerstones of Chicana & Chicano Studies" with its focus on discourse within Chicana/o studies and critical race theory directly connects with the teaching I do at Loyola Marymount University for both the Chicana/o Studies department and Rhetorical Arts.
Classroom study and discussions of race are frequently both fraught and compartmentalized, with students responding to readings and discussions in alienated or defensive ways. Over the past two years, I have worked to incorporate theories of Jesuit rhetoric, specifically the idea of assuming good faith on all sides of a discussion, into my Chicana/o studies pedagogy. This has resulted in students being able to approach issues of race, gender, sexuality and sexual identity, key intersections in Chicana/o writing and theory. I am eager to have the issue of "civility" discussed in the context of Chicana/o theory and how it connects to what I am doing in my LMU classroom.
The paper I am presenting "Tu riata es me espada: Elizabeth Sutherland's Chicana Formation" comes directly out of my experience making intersectional feminism visible and understandable in my Chicana/o studies classroom. It goes back to my first semester teaching at LMU when I was challenged by my department to teach the intersections of Chicana feminism with the civil rights movement and other U.S. feminists of color. As we used digital media to trace Chicana writings from the 1960s and 1970s, Elizabeth Sutherland emerged as an intersections between the Chicano and feminist movements and the African American civil rights movement and the Chicano Movement. Writing and living under an Anglo pseudonym for much of the 1960s, Martinez's life and work illustrated to my students the potential of one life to effect change across different groups. The panel I am on at NACCS is "De-coding Civility and Incivility in Chicana/o Literature," will look at issues of resistance and civility in Chicana/o literature.
In addition to my own panel, I will be taking part in discourse on the digitizing of various Chicana/o archives, sometimes referred to as "digital decolonization," projects I have been part of and have brought my students into. The discussion of the place of the digital humanities in ethnic studies research and pedagogy is a growing one. The digital work LMU students have done as part of my classes, specifically for CHST 404 and CHST 332 is part of that discussion and has served as models for other Chicana/o Studies courses. Likewise, I will be hearing how digital projects, such as "Chicana Por Mi Raza" are progressing, with the thought of bringing our students into the taking of Chicana activists' oral histories.
As a result of discussions following my talk on classroom digital communities, I made plans with Dr. Mari McMahon, acting director of the Mexican American Studies program at the University of Texas-‐Pan American, a university located on the border between Texas and Mexico, with a student population more than 90% Chicana/o. We have made plans, given our different student populations, to both offer the same Chicana/o literature course with the same syllabus and have our students in communication with each other through an online discussion board. Our different student populations would be able to share their different perspectives on the same literature.
Among the most interesting conversations I had at the conference was one with Linda Garcia Merchant (film maker and doctoral student) and Maria Cotera (professor of history at Michigan State University) about their project "Chicana Por Mi Raza." The "Chicana Por Mi Raza" digital humanities project is a digitizing of oral histories and archival material. It is being constructed into a searchable web-based site for use in Chicana/o studies and women's studies classrooms. Although the site has only recently gone public, it contains more than 60,000 artifacts. The site is currently located here: http://chicanapormiraza.org.
I plan to use it in all my CHST classes and make extensive use of it the next time I teach CHST 404 in order to extend the teaching of archival research. At the same time, the students will be learning how archiving works and participating in digital archival practice. I have met with KarenMary Davalos, chair of CHST, about organizing a meeting where I teach the use of this digital tool to other department faculty. The set-up of "Chicana Por Mi Raza" is one of giving and taking, with each person using the archive being encouraged to add to it.