“We Speak For Ourselves”: Indigenous Environmental Justice in Oscar Zeta Acosta’s Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo

Job Talk: “We Speak For Ourselves”: Indigenous Environmental Justice in Oscar Zeta Acosta’s Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo, by Edgar Garcia, Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of English Language & Literature, Yale University

Wed, January 28, 2015 • 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM • Meeting Room 1.106, Student Activity Center (SAC), The University of Texas at Austin

Oscar Zeta Acosta’s 1972 Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo reflects trends in social justice movements of the time that linked political empowerment to self-knowing and self-fashioning. Acosta’s autobiography functions as an ecological migration narrative forged in response to critical environmental justice issues such as pesticides, food toxicity, and open-pit uranium mining. The talk underscores the historicity of indigenous environmentalism, demonstrating how environmental traumas lead to critical responses eliciting transnational, cross-cultural, planetary communities and collaborations.

Sponsored by: Center for Mexican American Studies and Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies

Posted in Aztlan, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Literature, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Knowledge, Land, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Movimiento, Nepantla, Palabra, Race, Racism, Resistance, Unity, University of Texas at Austin | Leave a comment

Youth in Movement: Activism, Art and the Production of Urban Space

Youth in Movement:  Activism, Art and the Production of Urban Space

Youth in Movement:
Activism, Art and the Production of Urban Space

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Globalization, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Los Angeles, Mexica, Mexican, Mexico, Movimiento, MuXer, Nahuatl, Nepantla, Palabra, Politics, Racism, Resistance, Sexism, Social justice, Solidarity, Spirituality, Transnational, Unity | Leave a comment

Lecture Series: Mexican Americans and the Question of Race

Mexican Americans and the Question of Race

 

 

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Books, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Studies, Class, Decolonization, Education, Gender, History, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Nepantla, Palabra, Race, Racism, Resistance, Sexuality, Social justice, UCLA | Leave a comment

Book Talk & Signing [Un]Framing the “Bad Woman”: Sor Juana, Malinche, Coyolxauhqui, and Other Rebels with a Cause

[Un]Framing the “Bad Woman”: Sor Juana, Malinche, Coyolxauhqui, and Other Rebels with a Cause

[Un]Framing the “Bad Woman”: Sor Juana,
Malinche, Coyolxauhqui, and Other Rebels with
a Cause

Book Talk & Signing

[Un]Framing the “Bad Woman”: Sor Juana, Malinche, Coyolxauhqui, and Other Rebels with a Cause

By Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

CSRC Library – 144 Haines Hall

In this new collection of essays, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, professor of English, gender studies, and Chicana and Chicano studies at UCLA, focuses on the brown female bodies that have inspired her scholarly and creative writings. Drawing from the disciplines of art, literature, history, politics, popular culture, and feminist theory, she shows that the women of the book’s title—who include the murdered women of Juárez and Chicana lesbian feminists— have been framed as “bad women” by patriarchal social and political discourses. Gaspar de Alba argues that, in fact, by refusing to cooperate with male-centric and heteronormative expectations, these women were rebels who challenged norms of gender, class, and race. Her analysis seeks to unframe them and to offer new models for Chicano/Mexicano culture.

[Un]Framing the Bad Woman is the winner of the 2015 Book Award from the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education (AAHHE). Books will be available for purchase at this event.

This event is organized by the UCLA LGBT Program and cosponsored by the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies and the CSRC.

Posted in Aztlan, California, Chicana Feminism, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Books, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Studies, Decolonization, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Palabra, Resistance, Social justice, Spirituality, Unity | Leave a comment

Neoliberalism Privatization: Impact on Professors and We the People

Stanley Fish, “Neoliberalism and Higher Education”, wrote that few of his colleagues had ever come across the term “neoliberalism” or knew what it meant.

According to Fish, neoliberal principles are embedded “in culture’s way of thinking [and its] institutions.” While the term neoliberal is not frequently used, its supporters “mime and extend neoliberal principles on every opportunity.”

On university campuses in a relatively brief time this ideology has changed the mission of academy from an institution searching for the truth to a marketplace.

Privatization is the cornerstone of neoliberalism. Privatization is touted as the silver bullet that will solve the funding woes of “social security, health care, and K-12 education, the maintenance of toll–roads, railways, airlines, energy production, and communication systems.” According to them, the private sector can run them cheaper and more efficiently.

Americans, puzzled as to why Europeans tolerate being taxed so heavily, ask why do Europeans support such an expensive welfare state? The answer is that much of Europe is based on communitarianism, a philosophy that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community rather than like the U.S. where individualism is taken to an extreme.

Critics of neoliberalism such as Noam Chomsky argue that neoliberalism benefits the rich and increases inequalities “both within and between states.”

Cash strapped public universities, after years of resistance, have succumbed to the failed philosophy of the Reagan Revolution and reproduced a new narrative that claims that the “withdrawal of the percentage of a state’s contribution to a college’s operating expenses” actually increases demand for the “product” of higher education which will lower the cost of delivering it without the need to raise taxes.

Meanwhile, in order to offset the lack of public funding, administrators have raised tuition with students becoming the primary consumers and debt-holders. Iinstitutions have entered into research partnerships with industry shifting the pursuit of truth to the pursuit of profits. To accelerate this “molting,” they have “hired a larger and larger number of short-term, part-time adjuncts.” This has created large armies of transient and disposable workers who “are in no position to challenge the university’s practices or agitate for “democratic rather than monetary goals.”

The problem is aggravated by the fact that most administrators do not know what neoliberalism is. Many come out of the humanities and the arts and those coming out of the social sciences have a rudimentary knowledge of economics.

Neoliberalism in order to grow must build a justification. Take the case of Shirley V. Svorny, a Professor of Economics and former chair of the department. In a Los Angeles Times Op-Ed piece titled, “Make College Cost More” (November 22, 2010), Svorny argued that “Artificially low fees attract some students to higher education who simply aren’t suited to the academic rigors of a university.”  Svorny blamed unqualified students for tuition increases.

As insulting as her premise is the controversy was ignored by the administration and the faculty who increasingly retire to their “professional enclaves…” concentrating on their specialties that lack “a clear connection to the public interest.”

Most public colleges and universities are nonprofit institutions in name only. They are marketplaces pursuing neoliberal agendas.  “Forty years of privatization, stagnant wages, a weak economy, a lack of jobs, and budget cuts have forced college administrators to find alternative forms of funding.”

The market logic is omnipotent. It guides faculty, academic managers and managerial professionals seeking commercial gain related to academic and nonacademic products. Faculty and students are rewarded, and programs are developed whose purpose it is to generate revenue with little attention paid to “pedagogical or knowledge-related outcomes.”

Few studies are available on the effects of neoliberal discourse on the behavior of students. Research on the motivation, scope, and how they shift institutional priorities are rare. Even Alexander W. Astin’s (1998) study fails “to connect [the theme] to the rise of academic capitalism or the power of neoliberalism.”

Essential to understanding students’ motivations is knowing the pressures of conformity. The Italian intellectual Antonio Gramsci called it the hegemonic project, i.e., the process where the ruling class’s ideas and beliefs become the common sense values of society. Through this process, neoliberalism becomes internalized and unequivocally accepted.

From my experience, the hegemonic process has had a profound impact on administrators, professors and students in making their choices. Students select majors and research topics in terms of marketability.

In my opinion, this mindset spells doom for students at the lower margins as well as ethnic studies programs. Since the 1990s, this has become very noticeable with many new faculty lacking communitarian values common to those in the 1970s.

The importance of the common good has given way to what is good for me, which overemphasizes personal autonomy and individual rights. Asking what promotes the common good is less common.

Neoliberalism also interferes with understanding or dealing with community needs. This is very noticeable among recently hired faculty members. They participate less in student events and faculty governance.

According to Gramsci, the bourgeoisie establishes and maintains its control through a cultural hegemony, Therefore, it is natural that new professors who have spent most of their lives in the academy adopt the culture of the university. For them, bourgeois values represent the “natural” or “normal” values of society.

Forty years ago, these bourgeois ideas were countered by a few ideological members who  sought to construct an academic community. These dissidents heavily influenced intellectual discourse. This potential for political or ideological resistance has weakened, however.

In today’s academy, ideology is passé. There is noticeably less concern for the common good and more with the individual product. New faculty spends less time in the department and more time visiting  colleagues in their discipline than meeting with students or Chicana/os studies faculty.

The first thing some new faculty complain about is the size of their offices. When it is explained that we have small offices by choice – the students have a reception area in exchange for a reduction in the size of our faculty offices – they ask who made this decision? The conversation is about their product and its value.

Other faculty members spend more time in departments of their discipline, although many of these departments have refused to accept them as permanent members. It is the product that is important and they  believe it is enhanced by associating with scholars outside the Chicana/o community.

Part timers often do not want to do anything to damage their product. Take the UNAM (National University of Mexico) controversy: they ignored the political ramifications of neoliberalism. It did not matter to them. Neither did the human rights atrocities in Mexico, i.e., the disappearance of the 43 normalistas.

They are not sellouts in the popular sense of the word. They care about the issues as long as they do not affect the value of their product. Economics for them is an ideology and supply and demand are the only important factors in their decisions, Ultimately what is important is sustaining the value of the product they are selling.

– by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Classism, Colonialism, Community, CSUN, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, Globalization, History, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Mexican, Mexico, Movimiento, Neo-Liberalism, Privitization, Resistance, Social justice, UNAM | Leave a comment

Decolonizing Journeys, Deconstructing Borders & Dismantling Narratives: A Platica at CSULA (2/18/15)

Platica at CSULA

Platica at CSULA

Posted in Aztlan, Black Studies, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Healing, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Critical Race Studies, CSULA, East Los Angeles, Education, Ethnic Studies, History, Immigration, Indigenous, Knowledge, Labor, Land, Language, Los Angeles, Maize, MEChA, Mexica, Mexican, Migrant, Movimiento, MuXer, Nepantla, Palabra, Pan-African Studies, Resistance, Solidarity, Spirituality, Unity | Leave a comment

Call for Papers –> Anthology of a Pueblo Sin Fronteras

Call for Papers

Call for Papers

Posted in Aztlan, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Books, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Music, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, MEChA, Mexica, Mexican, Migrant, Movimiento, MuXer, Nahuatl, Nepantla, Palabra, Photography, Resistance, Social justice, Social Media, Solidarity, Spirituality, Student Empowerment, Transnational, Unity | Leave a comment

The Beginning of the End of the Public University: “The best of times …the worst of times.”

The 1960s were “the best of times …the worst of times.” As one author put it, a backlash was underway that marked the “Slow Death of Public Higher Education.” In less than a decade California went from Master Plan to No Plan. The ill wind was ushered in by Ronald Reagan’s election as governor of California in 1966.

It should have been no surprise; Reagan had vowed to “clean up that mess in Berkeley,” harping about “sexual orgies so vile that I cannot describe them to you.” Reagan proposed tuition to make the bums work so they would be too tired to carry picket signs.

In office, Reagan reduced state funding for higher education, and laid the foundation for a shift to a tuition-based funding model. When students protested Reagan called the National Guard and crushed them.

Reagan shifted the political debate over the meaning and purpose of public higher education in America. He declared war on the poor, proposing to throw the “bums” off welfare. According to Reagan, universities along with an expensive welfare program were a problem and they took California dangerously close to socialism.

Tom Hayden in an article on Mario Savio argued that “The current era of privatization and neoliberalism was born in Berkeley as a countermovement to the ’60s.” We did not see what was on the horizon, too caught up with our perceived victories perhaps to see a reaction building that would change higher education.

At the time, however, we were too young, naive or preoccupied with the Vietnam War, campus turmoil and the excitement of times to recognize the significance of the changes. They were slow in coming – by 1970 the fees had increased to $50 a semester which was affordable.

Berkeley was temporarily galvanized by the firing of Clark Kerr. In response to student protests Reagan ordered 2200 national guardsmen onto the Berkeley campus. Because of the prestige of Berkeley and UCLA for all intents and purposes privatization began earlier there with the admission of significant numbers of out of state and international students and an avalanche of lucrative private and public grants.

Meanwhile, by1959, San Fernando Valley State was no longer a satellite of Los Angeles State College. It was situated in a moderately conservative and overwhelmingly white suburbia. Spurred by freeways, it grew tremendously during the 1960s, and by June 1972 the college officially named itself California State University, Northridge.

My first student teaching assignment was in 1957 at SFVSC through LA State College. Over the years I taught junior high, high school and at Pierce College in the Valley. Active in the Latin American Civic Association and the Mexican American Political Association, we lobbied SFVSC for programs. There were a few sympathetic professors such as Betty Brady and of course, Julian Nava.

Valley State was a Mormon institution, controlled by a Mormon hierarchy. The professors wore white shirts, ties and coats. There was a faculty dining hall (cafeteria). At the time I did not realize it, but although we were a cow college, there was a feeling of tradition. Most faculty members respected the liberal traditions of a university education, and consequently reacted toward any threat to these traditions. Governance was part of that mindset and it was defended by the faculty senate.

The selection of James Cleary in 1969 marked a transition from Mormon rule. Cleary was regarded as a genuine scholar although his publications largely rested on his editorship of Robert’s Rules of Law. He had been a professor and administrator at the University of Wisconsin/Madison. He was Catholic and looked presidential, always with his pipe in hand.

He led CSUN to 1992. Cleary, for all of his warts, respected faculty governance and fought for the autonomy of the university.  I cannot remember an instance during his tenure when he overturned the decision of the faculty senate. However, changes were taking place during the 1970s like the draconian Proposition 13. He and other administrators unlike today’s managers used their moral authority to slow down encroachments.

By 1977, enrollment at CSUN cost $95. Eleven years later it rose to a $342 tuition fee. Until the early 1990s, tuition and fees remained low. Nevertheless, tuition and fees more than doubled from the late 1980s to early 1990s. By fall 2006, the University had tuition of $1,260.Spurred by the 2008 recession it went to $2,000 per year. By 2011–12, it rose to over $6,000 per year at CSU. ($3,272.00 in the spring 2015).

It is merely speculative but the decline in the traditions of the liberal university and the protection of faculty of the principle of faculty governance in all probability was facilitated by the decline of tenured track faculty and the rise in the number of part time faculty. There were also structural changes; full time faculty was only required to be on campus two days a week. Today, many professors lack a sense of place; it is a job rather than an institution.

Administrators have also changed. They are not cut in the image of the pipe smoking Cleary, and not one since his departure can be called a scholar. They are what the neoliberal-privatized university require, overseers. Under their rule, faculty governance has declined and even the department chairs are today part of the administrative staff.

In a recent address to the faculty, Provost Harry Hellenbrand titled “Molting Season” defended the privatization of CSUN and rationalized the increase in tuition: “Yes, CSUN

Charges students more than they paid fifty years ago. But factor in $150,000,000 more in aid.” This echoes CSUN President Dianne Harrison who told members of Chicana/o Studies that students could afford high tuition and dorm costs because they were getting Pell Grants. It is cynical and it is important to note that even the conservative Chancellor Glenn S. Dumke had opposed the notion of tuition.The “slow death of Public Higher Education” has come about from within. The managers have benefitted handsomely in terms of salaries, staff increases and slush funds. When a president comes in many of her housing perks are paid by non-state funds that do not have the restraints or scrutiny of state funds. Administrators have slush funds from which they can pay off cronies.

On the CSUN campus we have a private university that “molted” from the public institution. Privatization has contributed to the escalation of student costs with less and less public funds expended on education.

Privatization and neoliberalism that began in Berkeley as a countermovement to the ’60s is today in full swing. They are bringing about changes that will end public higher education and limit access to public higher Ed to the upper 50 percent.

Meanwhile, academicians will put together the narrative of the privatization and death of the public university. The patterns are easily discerned. More difficult will be to recognize and describe the changes that they have brought about in we the people.

…. From Dumke to Hellenbrand

– by Rodolfo F. Acuña

Posted in AmeriKKKa, Aztlan, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Politics, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, CSULA, CSUN, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, MEChA, Mexican, Movimiento, Nepantla, Palabra, Politics, Quotes, Racism, Resistance, Social justice, Solidarity, Student Empowerment, Unity | Leave a comment

CALL FOR PAPERS –> Decolonizing Journeys, Deconstructing Borders & Dismantling Narratives: An Anthology of a Pueblo Sin Fronteras

Call for Papers for Decolonizing Indigenous Migration

Decolonizing Journeys, Deconstructing Borders & Dismantling Narratives: An Anthology of a Pueblo Sin Fronteras is based on a one-day student-led symposium at California State University, Los Angeles scheduled for May 2015 entitled Decolonizing Journeys, Deconstructing Borders & Dismantling Narratives: [Un]framing the “Good” & “Bad” Immigrant Discourse whose primary objective is to [re]conceptualize the shifting articulations of race, gender, nation, and citizenship through a [re]framing of (im)migration as a transnationalist fact of historical existence and collective resistance.

The symposium will rely on the testimonio as a strategic device to deconstruct Eurocentric historiographies, narratives, and methodologies on (im)migration as a way of transcending systems of oppressions, which historically have dehumanized non-white peoples. In this sense, Indigenous and “undocumented” communities exhibit agency and resiliency by challenging colonial forms of the “good” and “bad” immigrant narrative.

We invite submissions from students, community members, scholars, activists, artists, and photographers, for the publication of Decolonizing Journeys, Deconstructing Borders & Dismantling Narratives: An Anthology of a Pueblo Sin Fronteras that addresses the established legacy, challenges, and future of the Indigenous diaspora in the United States.

The book is intended for students, scholars, and community activists who are interested in Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Cultural Studies, Chicana/o Literature, Chicana/o History, Decolonization Studies, Indigenous Studies, (Im)migration Studies, Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, U.S.-México History, Borderlands, Critical Race Studies, and Queer Studies.

Types of work we invite include (but are not limited to):

  • Academic Scholarship (Essay, Literary Criticism, etc.)
  • Creative Writing (Poem, Prose, Short-Story, etc.)
  • Visual Art (Photography, Painting, Drawing, Video, etc.)

The publication of Decolonizing Journeys, Deconstructing Borders & Dismantling Narratives: An Anthology of a Pueblo Sin Fronteras will include work that critically engages race, class, gender, sexuality, indigeneity, pedagogy, colonialism, and globalization to challenge Eurocentric knowledge productions on (im)migration.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Borderlands
  • Diasporas
  • Historic sacredness of Indigenous migration
  • Environmental Justice and (im)migration
  • Family (im)migration
  • Dream Youth & Student Movement
  • (Im)migration literature, art, photography, music, and performance as resistance
  • Race, gender, class, sexuality, and indigeneity as sites of (im)migration resistance

Note:

  • We will accept entries of no more than 3000 words in length in Microsoft Word format (.doc or .docx) using the Times New Roman font and 12point font size.
  • Authors must include their names, titles, institutions, mailing addresses, contact number, email address, and brief biography (not to exceed 50 words).
  • Submissions are accepted in English or Spanish.  For submissions in an Indigenous language, please include an English or Spanish translation.
  • For those submitting photography and/or artwork, all pieces must be in JPEG format.
  • For those submitting video content for the digital e-book version, compress your work and send via WeTransfer.com to the emails listed below.
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished and original material. All authors retain their rights upon publication.
  • Please note that there will be no monetary compensation for any work submitted, however, the author will receive either a traditional bound book or a digital e-book version.

Submission Process: Submit all work to any of the following editors:

Submission Deadline: July 1, 2015 by 5:00pm PST.

  • Updated as of Monday, January 19, 2015
Posted in Aztlan, California, Central American, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Books, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Literature, Chicana/o Poetry, Chicana/o Power, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Community, Cultura, Decolonization, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Mexican, Migrant, Movimiento, Nepantla, Palabra, Quotes, Resistance, Social justice, Solidarity, Spirituality, Student Empowerment, Transnational, Unity | Leave a comment

Chicano Soul and Luis Favela Photography Exhibit at Homegirl Cafe

Chicano Soul and Luis Favela

Chicano Soul and Luis Favela

Posted in Aztlan, California, Chicana/o, Chicana/o Activism, Chicana/o Art, Chicana/o Books, Chicana/o Community, Chicana/o History, Chicana/o Identity, Chicana/o Ideology, Chicana/o Mural, Chicana/o Music, Chicana/o Studies, Chicana/o Underground, Chicana/o Youth, Chicano Movement, Community, Cultura, East Los Angeles, Education, History, Indigenous, Knowledge, Language, Los Angeles, Lowrider, Mexican, Movimiento, Nepantla, Palabra, Photography, Resistance, Social justice, Social Media, Solidarity, Spirituality, Unity | Leave a comment