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American Ethnic Studies


March 27th, 2017

Roshanravan awarded Jane Addams Prize

Roshanravan Jane Addams PrizeShireen Roshanravan, associate professor of American ethnic studies, was awarded the Jane Addams Prize for her paper, "Asian-American Visibility and the Coalitional Imperative," presented at the 2017 annual meeting of the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy, March 17, in Birmingham, Alabama.

The Jane Addams Prize is awarded annually by the society's program committee for the best paper presented at the meeting on issues in feminist thought as they occur in American philosophies, including their intersections with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability and age.

Roshanravan's paper argues that the current "Asians for Black Lives" mobilizations demonstrate what she calls the "coalitional imperative" of Asian-American feminist visibility in their spectacular exhibits of cross-racial solidarity. Roshanravan presented her paper as part of a panel on Asian-American feminist theory and praxis with Tamsin Kimoto, Emory University, and Erika Brown, Villanova University.

Link to K-State Today Article

March 20th, 2017

Valenzuela presents at Southwest Council of Latin American Studies Conference

Norma A. Valenzuela, American ethnic studies faculty member, presented "Mestiza Consciousness a la MeXicana in Ultima and Agueda Martinez: Bridging and Legitimizing Querencia in the Borderlands" at the Southwest Council of Latin American Studies Conference, March 9-12, in Campeche, Mexico.

Valenzuela's work explores "querencia" — translated to "sense and love of place" — by examining the intersectionality of race, gender, class and nation as sites of contestation in the life of two major nuevomexicana protagonists: Ultima, a fictional character, and Agueda Martinez, a Chimayo weaver. Valenzuela uses their experiences to bridge and legitimize her own positionality within the Borderlands, specifically connecting rural/urban New Mexico and northern Mexico. The work discusses how Valenzuela's experiences enabled her to examine how she, as a transnational MeXicana, exists, inhabits and navigates a middle space within the Borderlands.

Existing in what Chicana theorist Gloria Anzaldúa conceptualizes as "Nepantla" — translated to "the land in the middle" — facilitates a shared sense of legitimacy and collective practice within a transnational perspective that allows for cultural renegotiations and proposes a MeXicana discourse about history, family structure and gender relations. The work juxtaposes Valenzuela's own history as central to the particular lens she utilizes to understand and make sense of growing up in Alburquerquito. In northern Mexico, her indigenous grandmother educated her through "dichos," or "sayings," storytelling, "curanderismo" — translated to "indigenous healing practices" — and love of the land.

Growing up in the Borderlands gave Valenzuela an understanding of the meaning of "deeper realities" and to "see below the surface." Utilizing her experiences, Valenzuela mapped the interdisciplinary exploration in colonized spaces that enabled an understanding and recognition of her own social positioning within New Mexican society.

Link to K-State Today Article

March 20th, 2017

Artist and 2017 TED fellow Damon Davis to give presentation at K-State

Damon DavisDamon Davis, 2017 TED fellow, will discuss his All Hands on Deck project and screen excerpts from his documentary "Whose Streets?" at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, in 101 Thompson Hall.

A reception will follow at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art.

Davis started the All Hands on Deck project as part of the Black Lives Matter movement to honor human rights activists. After Michael Brown was shot to death by police in Ferguson, Missouri, on Aug. 9, 2014, Davis, a native of St. Louis, joined the protests against the shooting and started photographing the upraised hands of his fellow activists. With permission from area businesses, Davis posted 3-feet-tall posters of his photographs on buildings. The rows of raised hands provided a visual backdrop for the protests, transforming "hands up" from a symbol of surrender to resistance and community solidarity.

Two of Davis' fine art prints are included in the Beach Museum of Art's collection.

The All Hands on Deck project also has appeared in many American and international cities

Additional events related to Davis' presentation:

• Visit the Union Program Council art table to photograph your hands and be part of All Hands on Deck, K-State edition from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 27-29.

• Aileen June Wang, curator, will discuss works by African-American artists on display during a pre-event gallery talk from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 30, at the Beach Museum of Art. Additional gallery talks with Wang will be 2:30 p.m. April 4 and 12:30 p.m. April 12 at the William T. Kemper Art Gallery in the K-State Student Union.

• View the All Hands on Deck exhibit organized by students of the Union Program Council and Black Student Union April 4-14 at the William T. Kemper Art Gallery in the K-State Student Union.

Davis' presentation is organized by the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art in partnership with the Black Student Union and co-sponsored by the art department. The event is funded in part by the Student Governing Association Fine Arts Fee; K-State Libraries' Dow Center for Multicultural and Community Studies; and American ethnic studies department.

Photograph by Nate Burrell.

Link to K-State Today Article

March 9th, 2017

Panel to discuss 'Queer/Trans People of Color Resistance Through Art and Activism'

QTPOCThe American Ethnic Studies Student Association, an official student organization, will host a panel discussion, "Queer/Trans People of Color Resistance Through Art and Activism," at 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 13, in the K-State Student Union Grand Ballroom. Panel members include artists and activists Maya González, D'LoL. FrankJendog Lonewolf and YaliniDream

At 6:30 p.m., each artist will perform spoken word, comedy, hip-hop and storytelling focused on the creative resistance and resilience of queer/trans people of color across Asian American, Black, Latina/o, and Native American communities. 

The event offers the campus community an opportunity to engage in dialogue and learn from artists and activists who live, struggle and create at the intersection of gender, sexual, racial, colonial and cultural oppressions. The panel members' art communicates how violence-free communities depend on coalition across multiple lines of difference and demonstrates the impossibility of achieving racial and decolonial justice without simultaneously fighting for gender and sexual justice. 

The American Ethnic Studies Student Association, in partnership with the American ethnic studies department and Feminists Igniting Resistance and Empowerment, organized this event with funding from the Diversity Programming Council, DOW Center for Multicultural and Community Studies and the English department. 

See the event's PDF flier for more information. All are welcome to attend this free event.

Link to K-State Today Article

February 2nd, 2017

Broyles-González publishes on music icon Jenni Rivera

Yolanda Broyles-González, department head of American ethnic studies, has published the first academic treatment of singer Jenni Rivera, as part of a cultural studies anthology titled "De Aztlan al Rio de la Plata," edited by Sergio M. Martinez.

The anthology's title marks its transnational focus: "Aztlan" is a Nahuatl Aztec designation for North America, while "Rio de la Plata" designates South America. Mexican American singer Jenni Rivera enjoyed a singular hemispheric popularity across national borders. When Rivera died in a plane crash on Dec. 9, 2012, Mexican-Americans lost their greatest living song idol, while the world in general lost one of the most eloquent and engaged advocates for women of color.

Jenny Dolores Rivera Saavedra (Jenni Rivera) topped the record sales charts and won multiple Grammy Awards, while serving as spokeswoman for the National Coalition Against Battered Women and Domestic Violence, and also establishing her own foundation in support of single mothers and victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. What is more, she combined her legendary singing voice with her advocacy for women of color, immigrants and LGBT constituents at concerts. She was utterly fearless and always provocative, interrupting her own song performances with powerful social advocacy messages.

In her article, Broyles-González traces the emergence of Rivera from a Long Beach, California barrio to a stardom, which gave voice to the most disenfranchised sectors of society. Her voice performed a powerful history from the fringe, which modeled empowerment for women, most especially immigrant Mexican women.

The article examines how Rivera, along with her older brothers, sang at the beginning of a major ranchera, or ranch song, roots resurgence, which became a powerful tool of self-affirmation and self-defense among youth during one of California's most violent anti-immigrant hysterias and immigrant scapegoating eras. That era featured multiple anti-immigrant ballot initiatives directed at immigrants. Such was the case with Proposition 187 in 1994, which denied schooling to undocumented immigrant children, and denied prenatal and other hospital care to women undocumented immigrants.

Another anti-immigrant ballot initiative was the English-only measure Proposition 227 in 1998 which banned Spanish language bilingual education instruction in the public schools. Within that "English only" California, Rivera came out singing Spanish only. The young, college-educated, and fluently bilingual Rivera opted to cultivate the stigmatized Spanish-language traditional ranchera music, one of many biographical facts that endeared her to working-class Spanish speaking audiences. She took up the music of her family and of poor immigrant Mexican communities plagued by unemployment, violence, racism and a host of other social problems, exacerbated by the full-on political assault of the1990s and into the 21st century. In effect that, roots music became a discursive response to all the oppression, responding with a strong beat, varied voices, and youth organized with new dance moves and thousands of dance clubs.

Link to K-State Today Article