Seminar | Boaventura de Sousa Santos Chair in Social Sciencies

Towards a Decolonisation of Feminism: Dialogues of knowledges and building of anti-capitalist and anti-racist alliances

This seminar intends to present some ideas on the methodological and political challenges involved in the decolonisation of feminism, as an essential requirement for building anti-capitalist and anti-racist political alliances.

In the course of her experience, of almost three decades, as an academic and activist for women's rights in contexts of cultural diversity, R. Aída Hernández Castillo had to face both the disqualifications of the positivist academy and the distrust of anti-academic activism. The reflections to be presented here intend to answer these two positions, claiming the epistemological wealth involved in the feminist research process in partnership or in collaboration with social movements and, at the same time, affirming that social research can contribute to the development of critical thinking and to weaken power discourses, thus contributing to the struggle of movements working for social justice.

The weakening of our own epistemic certainties around justice, democracy and rights is a vital condition for the development of a dialogue of knowledges that will allow us to expand our prospects for a dignified life and build cross-border alliances and solidarities.

Bio note
Rosalva Aída Hernández | Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City

Born in Ensenada, Baja California, she earned her doctorate in anthropology from Stanford University in 1996. She is Professor and Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City. She worked as a journalist since she was 18 years old in a Central American Press Agency. Since she was an undergraduate she has combined her academic work with media projects in radio, video and journalism. Her academic work has promoted indigenous and women rights in Latin America. She has done field work in indigenous communities in the Mexican states of Chiapas, Guerrero and Morelos, with Guatemalan refugees and with African immigrants in the South of Spain. She has published more than twenty books and her academic work has been translated to English, French, and Japanese. Her more recent book entitled Multiple InJusticies. Indigenous Women Law and Political Struggle in Latin America, will be published by University of Arizona Pres. She is recipient of the Martin Diskin Oxfam Award for her activist research and of the Simon Bolivar Chair (2013-2014) granted by Cambridge University for her academic work.

Her research interests cover ethnic studies, legal and political anthropology, postcolonial feminisms and activist research. One of her projects involves exploring the experience of indigenous women with customary law and national law. She has worked extensively in the past on exploring plural identities in Chiapas as well as the human rights of Guatemalan refugees in Mexico. She is the author of Sur Profundo. Identidades Indígenas en la Frontera Chiapas Guatemala (CIESAS-CDI 2013) , Histories and Stories from Chiapas: Border Identities in Southern Mexico (UT Press 2001) published also in Spanish as La Otra Frontera: Identidades Múltiples en el Chiapas Postcolonial (2001), and of Etnografías e Historias de Resistencias. Mujeres Indígenas Resistencia Cotidiana y Organización Colectiva (2008 PUEG-UNAM-CIESAS) and is co-editor of: Descolonizando el Feminismo. Teorías y Prácticas desde los Márgenes (Catedra 2008) Dissident Women. Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas (UT Press 2006); El Estado y los indígenas en tiempos del PAN: neoindigenismo, identidad y legalidad (Porrúa 2004), Mayan Lives, Mayan Utopias: the Indigenous Peoples of Chiapas and the Zapatista Rebellion (Rowman & Littlefield 2003); and The Other Word: Women and Violence in Chiapas Before and After Acteal (IWGIA 2001) among other books. She is a recipient of the Martin Diskin Oxfam Award for her activist research.