Lecture aims to address history, future of feminism

Panelists and students will gather in the M.D. Anderson Library on Monday to discuss “Decolonizing the Archive: Chicana por mi Raza and the Challenge of Digital Humanities.”

Four scholars — Maria Cotera, Lisa Cruces, Patricia Hernandez and Carolina Villareal — will speak to students on feminism and how its evolved over the years at 10 a.m. in the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion. According to professor of Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies visiting fellow Rachel Quinn, panelists from all over the country will discuss topics related to how modern feminists scholars can teach and learn about the past to discover lost histories and and incite new and unexpected connections.

“This group of panelists has profoundly diverse experience with archives,” said Quinn. “They are practicing archivists, scholars and community activists who will be able to speak to and complicate how we think about what needs to be archived and when and how.  They are all Latina professionals working in the field of archiving material.”

“Students can draw a great deal of knowledge from their experience, whether or not they have thought through in a theoretical manner the impact of their work as Cotera has.”

This event, which is sponsored by various organizations including UH’s Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, Center for Mexican American Studies, Center for Arts Leadership and Digital Humanities Initiative along with the Houston Arts Alliance, MECA and Humanities Texas, is aiming to redirect research and ideas. Quinn elaborated on the importance of examining history, so everyone’s story is told.

“Whose history gets preserved determines how public history gets told,” said Quinn. “Dr. Cotera’s work offers us new ways to think about the archives that we create and why certain people’s histories and labor are not well represented there.”

“She is passionate about her work in getting students to think differently about the importance of the archive…this panel of speakers recognize the importance of doing this work well so that we have a history to learn from and look back on. We are building archives that matter to the communities of which we are a part.”

Quinn said it’s important that students come out to participate in the discussion.

“It is important to recognize the impact of women’s studies scholarship in and out of the academy,” Quinn said. “The Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at UH is growing, and beginning in Fall 2015, we will offer a major. We want students to see the different ways that they can do work in academia and in their communities with a knowledge of the interdisciplinary field of women’s and gender studies.”

To become more involved in the Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies department, stop by the department’s open house from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1 at 624 Agnes Arnold Hall to learn about classes and ongoing events.

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