- Chicana Feminism Virtually Remixed
Chicana Diasporic: A Nomadic Journey of the Activist Exiled
Chicana Diasporic: A Nomadic Journey of the Activist Exiled is a multimodal, media-rich, literary exploration of the political-ideological journey of the women of the Chicana Caucus of the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC) from 1973 to 1979. The museum collection format of this interdisciplinary experience of the NWPC Chicana Caucus includes hybrid-text with personal narrative and annotations of speeches, correspondence, event posters, photographs, filmed interview clips, an introductory narrative and timeline that defines the Caucus's history, structure and purpose, and its national impact on 1970s second-wave feminism. Chicana Diasporic analyzes the character, motivation, and origins of the political-cultural work of hundreds of Chicanas over this six-year period, across the US and Mexico and through often simultaneous events. It joins American studies and digital humanities methods and themes to imbricate the temporal and geographic connections of the Chicana political movement; transforms the study of multilingual and multicultural artifacts and persons through the lens of gender and geography; and offers the visitor multiple points of transdisciplinary entry.
In 1973 the Chicana Caucus was officially sanctioned as a special interest caucus at the NWPC conference in Houston, Texas, and continued through the 1979 NWPC conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, when the last Chicana Caucus chair was elected. The ideological diaspora for Chicanas is required as a need to create a cultural and political space to work, forced on them as a result of their expulsion from two ideological communities because of gender (the Chicano movement) and race (the white feminist movement). The expulsion presents itself as blacklisting, underfunding, exclusion from leadership, and access to membership with agency within organizations. These Chicana/Latina women created an ideological space between both worlds, in the Venn diagram of the women's and Chicano movements. [End Page 605]
Chicana Diasporic offers the visitor multiple entries to the experience of this group of highly motivated and prolific women—in the traditional Scalar book/chapter narrative, and as a nonlinear material curiosity, through access to a collection of digital objects brought over from the Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Collective (CPMR). Chicana Diasporic is a presentation of a Chicana history with an identity formation rooted in Mexico, Europe, and, the United States, developed within a community and over time, as Martha Cotera describes in the seminal 1977 collection of essays, The Chicana Feminist, as a "process of refinement" with a goal of social responsibility.1 Using the author's personal narrative as the main thread, Chicana Diasporic is an interdisciplinary witness and articulation of Chicana process, an organic methodology—lived and applied. The goal is to present a public discourse on second-wave Chicana feminism alongside artifacts from CPMR's private collection that houses the supporting documents, thereby presenting a research model that educates and fills the gap of resources on second-wave Chicana/Latina feminist thought, production, and outcome.
Materials provided for Chicana Diasporic come from several sources, with most from the Chicana por mi Raza Digital Memory Collective (www.chicanapormiraza.org), the ongoing recovery project that is one of the largest resources of material on second-wave Chicana/Latina feminist production and experience, housing over 7,000 digital assets and 125 filmed oral history interviews. The original Scalar artwork and site design were created by Jessica Thomas, a graphic designer, who describes her work as a visual representation of "history and documentation as well as a connection between the different images and events."2 Original photographs produced by an iconic feminist photographer, Diana Mara Henry, are displayed with the photographer's permission. The original content, and performance work on "A Chola-fied Remix," is created by Garcia Merchant, Juay Roybal Kastl, and two Chicana graduate students, Bernice Olivas and Belinda Acosta, who have both since earned their PhDs in the English department at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Additional materials come from several private collections within the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin, along with the personal collections of Martha Cotera, Rose Marie Roybal, Ruth "Rhea" Mojica Hammer, Margaret Cruz, Andrea Cano, Evey...