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Maylei Blackwell


Anne Ray Resident Scholar

Affiliation at time of award:
Associate Professor
Cesar E. Chavez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies

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

This project 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 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. Her research 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. Blackwell aims to broaden 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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