We Are Charrua Women: From Negation to Re-Existence In Our Body-Territory

Friday, February 26 at 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Charrua women have gone through dispossession, exclusion, and negation that left marks on our collective memory and body-territory. The genocidal process did not end in 19th century Uruguay, but continues today and manifests itself every time that institutions or civil society deny our existence as an indigenous people. For fifteen years, together with Charrúa sisters from Argentina, we have been working to demolish hegemonic narratives of the market and state. As subjects of legal right, we are reconfiguring our existence and re-existence in our great ancestral-territory-body. This collective search has led me to academic spaces.

In 2011, I began an investigation with rural Charrúa women in Uruguay’s interior to question the nation-state’s devices of invisibility and to expose counter-memories as part of an attempt to disarm the social and symbolic representation of our extinction. Through a methodological approach based on collaborative ethnography, my research aims to rearm the great quillapí of memory. The metaphor of quillapí – a leather cape made from patchwork – implies that each woman is the bearer of a small piece of memory and, among all, we are sewing together its scraps. Down this path, we Charrúa women began to slowly gain recognition from the Uruguayan feminist movement, in a slow process of internal decolonization.

Cosponsored by the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB History Department, UCSB Feminist Studies Department, UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies, UCSD Latin American Studies Program, UCSD Critical Gender Studies, and UCSD Institute for Arts and Humanities

 

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