Professor Maria Cotera: “Chicana por mi Raza” online archive project

Professor Maria Cotera presented a talk earlier this month at Stanford about her Online Chicana Feminist History Archive Project, created with documentary  filmmaker and producer Linda Garcia Merchant, of Voces Primeras. From the newsletter for the Clayman Center for Gender Research: "Chicana por mi Raza" artwork

“Today we talk about Chicana feminism almost exclusively in the academy,” Maria Cotera told an audience in Margaret Jacks Hall, “but in the 1970s, it was happening in the streets.”

The goal of Cotera’s ambitious online archive project, “Chicana por mi Raza,” is to recapture the once vibrant movement for the social, political, and economic justice of Mexican American, Chicana, and Hispanic women in the United States. When it launches later this year, the website will house a rich archive documenting the development of Chicana feminist thought and action from 1960 to 1990. The efforts of her and of the project’s co-founder, Linda Garcia Merchant, have amassed thousands of newspapers, reports, leaflets, out-of-print books, pieces of correspondence, and oral histories, most of which have been missing from mainstream archives.

Silence of the archive
In her recent talk, “Liberating the Feminist Archive: Mapping Chicana Feminisms in the Digital Age,” Cotera, Associate Professor at the University of Michigan, previewed some materials from the database. She hopes that the site will “bring the history of Chicana feminism to a whole new audience, from public school educators to college students to established scholars.”

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3 thoughts on “Professor Maria Cotera: “Chicana por mi Raza” online archive project”

  1. Thank you for posting this wonderful article about our project’s visionary director.
    Linda Garcia Merchant, Voces Primeras LLC

  2. Yes, thanks so much for posting this! Even though I won’t be at MALCS this summer (I have a family reunion), the technical director for the project, Linda Garcia Merchant will be there, please hunt her down and talk to her about the project if you are interested.
    We are trying to build a cross generational network of scholars — undergrads, grads, untenured, tenured — who are working in this area, and who would like to come together to build this archive. We especially want undergrads and grads to have access to mentorship beyond the confines of their institutions, and so we are reaching out to students in particular. Last April we interviewed Chicana welfare rights advocate Alicia Escalante with the help of Rosie Bermudez, an incoming graduate student at UCSB. Next weekend we will be conducting oral histories in the Pilsen Neighborhood of Chicago, with the assistance of professor Tess Arenas (U-Wisconsin), who will be working on the project with students at UW this fall. You can get regular updates on the project by liking us on facebook (chicana por mi raza), or better yet, sending me an email and telling me you’d like to be involved (just look me up at the University of Michigan). Adelante!


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