Monday, December 26, 2011
Spotlight on Professor Maylei Blackwell
Maylei Blackwell is Assistant Professor in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies and Women's Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). An interdisciplinary scholar activist and oral historian, she works with indigenous women's organizers in Mexico, Latin American feminist movements, and sexual rights activists, all of whom are involved in cross-border organizing and community formation.
Her research has two distinct, but interrelated trajectories that broadly analyze how women's social movements in the U.S. and Mexico are shaped by questions of difference -- factors such as race, indigeneity, class, sexuality or citizenship status -- and how these differences impact the possibilities and challenges of transnational organizing. Through collaborative and community-based research, Professor Blackwell has excavated genealogies of women of color feminism in the U.S. and accompanied indigenous women organizers in Mexico as well as feminist movements and sexual rights activists throughout Latin American. Her most recent research with farm worker women and indigenous migrants seeks to better understand new forms of grassroots transnationalism.
Professor Blackwell is the author of ¡Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement (University of Texas Press, 2011) which is the first book-length study of women's involvement in the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. The publisher notes: “¡Chicana Power! tells the powerful story of the emergence of Chicana feminism within student and community-based organizations throughout southern California and the Southwest. As Chicanos engaged in widespread protest in their struggle for social justice, civil rights, and self-determination, women in el movimiento became increasingly militant about the gap between the rhetoric of equality and the organizational culture that suppressed women's leadership and subjected women to chauvinism, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Based on rich oral histories and extensive archival research, Maylei Blackwell analyzes the struggles over gender and sexuality within the Chicano Movement and illustrates how those struggles produced new forms of racial consciousness, gender awareness, and political identities.”