Scales of Justice: Indigenous Women’s Transborder Organizing and the Practice of Autonomy in the Age of Neoliberalism

Maylei Blackwell, Associate Professor, Cesar E. Chavez Dept. of Chicana and Chicano Studies, UCLA, and Anne Ray Resident Scholar, SAR

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Maylei Blackwell, 2015-2016 Resident ScholarMaylei Blackwell, 2015-2016 Resident ScholarPhotograph by Martiza Alvarez. Courtesy of Maylei Blackwell.Maylei Blackwell, 2015-2016 Resident ScholarPhotograph by Martiza Alvarez. Courtesy of Maylei Blackwell.

Dr. Blackwell’s presentation will present an overview of her forthcoming book set for completion while in residence at SAR entitled, Scales of Justice: Indigenous Women’s Transborder Organizing and the Practice of Autonomy in the Age of Neoliberalism. This book illuminates the complex, cross border and transnational dialogues among indigenous women activists that are reshaping indigenous demands for autonomy in Mexico, within international policy arenas, and within the migrant stream to the US. Based on collaborative research Dr. Blackwell conducted while accompanying indigenous women activists in Mexico, the US and in continental networks over the past sixteen years, the methodology includes ethnography, nearly forty oral histories and community-based digital storytelling projects. The structure of the project is grounded in the ways activists weave in and between scales of organizing and explores the rich zones between local, national, transnational and cross border activism as vital spaces to indigenous women organizers who are often marginalized in the politics of each scale of organizing. This research broadens our sense of indigeneity within the context of the globalization of rights discourse and the complexity and innovation of indigenous social movements that are local, national and transnational in scope. Including organizations that span a cross border indigenous diaspora also contributes to a broader reconceptualization of migration from Mexico as a multi-racial process, which is increasingly indigenous.

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