By Ester Trujillo, UCSB Site committee
The panels got started today at 9:00 in the morning and as Session 1 began, the excitement could be felt throughout the registration area. For the first time in a long time Santa Barbara hit the mid-80’s F in temperature, making it very apparent that the Mujeres attending the conference brought the heatwave that has hit the rest of the nation along with them from as far as Washington DC, Chicago and Texas.
Today’s morning sessions covered everything from how to use testimonio as method and how to survive the process of promotion from Assistant Professor to the next level. There was a panel on technology that serendipitously congregated in a room where the learning that occurred was truly organic and natural.
During the lunch break, the vending area received conference traffic as conference participants descended upon Storke Plaza to see the items for sale by local vendors and artists. Among jewelry and prints of artworks, books and dream catchers decorated the landscape.
After the lunch break the first Summer Institute Plenary attracted over 150 conference attendees, UCSB students, and community members. Speakers Rusty Barceló, Ana Clarissa Rojas Durazo, Audrey Silvestre, and Nadia Zepeda provided a sobering view into their experiences with institutional violence during their talk titled, “MALCS’ Decolonial Work: Naming and Undoing Institutional Violence, From SB 1070 to Chicano Studies. Moderator Antonia Castañeda gave an insightful introduction and reminded us of the nature of institutional violence and its relation to physical violence. This plenary highlighted MALCS’ subcommittee on institutional Violence and is the first in a series of panels designed to address this issue. The second session in this thread will take place Friday, July 20th during Session 5, which runs from 10:30 to 11:45 AM. The session is session 5I and will take place in the Santa Barbara Harbor room which is located in the basement level of the University Center.
The last session of panels ran during session 3 and I had the pleasure of moderating the panel titled “The Unmaking of Americans: Citizenship, Cultural Politics, and the Neoliberal State,” featuring Ellie Hernandez, Eliza Rodriguez y Gibson, and Veronica Martinez-Matsuda where I learned about the relationship between neoliberal state policies and the regulation/policing of minority “others” both in historical terms, through cultural production and within the design of federal and state policy. What fascinated me the most was how each speaker came from such a different methodological background and yet the tropes and themes they discussed were all delicately interwoven in a graceful dance of language and thought.
Following the Graduate and Undergraduate Caucus meetings and dinner, conference attendees gathered at Del Pueblo Café in Old Town Goleta where dinner and drinks were enjoyed through laughter and greetings of friends, both old and new. Jessica Lopez Lyman and I both hosted the Open Mic Night and 8 courageous poets, singers and all-around performers gathered to delight us with their words. Poets as young as sixteen delivered their words; several of the poets spoke for the first time in public, reading their writings in front of an audience. Closing up the night, Rusty Barceló delighted attendees with several of her songs.
I am extremely excited for what tomorrow will bring, knowing that many conference attendees are still on their way. The full conference day of Friday, July 20th kicks off at 9:00 AM and continues through midnight as we host the Tortuga Awards Dinner at Casa de la Raza in Santa Barbara (tickets are required for entry). More than anything, I am excited to raffle off a brand new 16GB iPad and several other goodies. Find me around campus or at the dinner to get your raffle tickets, Raffle tickets are $3 each of two for $5.