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Nos/Otras and an Anzalduan Relational Approach to Social Movement Activism

Authors: Juan Herrera*, University of California, Los Angeles
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Social Movements, Gloria Anzaldua, activism
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This presentation endeavors to think through Gloria Anzaldua’s concept of Nos (us)/Otras (them), a usage of the Spanish language word for “us” which she utilizes to underscore the relationality between “us” and “them.” Identity formation for Anzaldua is therefore relational and involves an ethics of care and responsibility between humans and nonhumans. I utilize this concept of relationality to understand the solidarity movements of the 1960s. As social movements that shared a geographic location and navigated regional racial politics, Black Power, American Indian, and Chicano struggles for liberation were mutually constituted. They advanced similar projects of spatial and economic justice for their respective communities. The presentation will foreground struggles around educational access and fights against police brutality as major foci through which robust alliances and forms of solidarity materialized. In addition to analyzing these forms of solidarity politics, activists will also think critically through a space-time analysis of community practices of care. Principally, this means thinking about how traces of 1960s activism continue to animate Bay Area politics and intergenerational relationships.

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