Skip to main content

Maria Cotera: Liberating the Feminist Archive


Sponsored by the University of Houston's Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program, Center for Mexican American Studies, Department of English, Department of History, Center for Arts Leadership and Digital Humanities Initiative, along with the Houston Arts Alliance, MECA, and Humanities Texas.


Decolonizing the Archive: Chicana por mi Raza and the Challenge of Digital Humanities

Dr. Maria Cotera, University of Michigan
Monday, March 9, 2015
10 - 11:15am

Rockwell Pavilion (2nd Floor), MD Anderson Library, University of Houston

Focusing on the Chicana por mi Raza digital archive, a collection of oral histories and documents from women who were active in social movements during the 1960s and 1970s, this lecture explores the possibilities and challenges that are opened up by the “digital turn” in Humanities scholarship. Cotera argues that digital archiving projects like Chicana por mi Raza challenge conventional notions of humanistic research and reformat the archive in critical ways by shifting it from a repository to an active site for the co-creation of feminist knowledge. Re-reading the archive as a site of encuentro (encounter) and exchange, Cotera explores how contemporary feminist scholars can teach (and learn) about the past in ways that recover lost histories and incite new, and unexpected, connections.

Maria Cotera, Ph.D., Maria Cotera is an Associate Professor who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Women’s Studies & the Program in American Culture. She served as the Director for the University of Michigan's Latina/o Studies Program from 2008 to 2011. Cotera's first book, Native Speakers: Ella Deloria, Zora Neale Hurston, Jovita González, and the Poetics of Culture, (University of Texas Press, 2008) received the Gloria Anzaldúa book prize for 2009 from the National Women's Studies Association (NWSA).  Professor Cotera is currently working two major research initiatives. The first, Chicana por mi Raza, is a national digital humanities project that seeks to create an online interactive archive documenting Chicana Feminist praxis from 1960-1990. The second, El Museo del Norte, is a partnership with Southwest Detroit arts and culture organizations with the aim of creating a museum without walls that documents Latino history in the Midwest.


Pushing Back: Chicana, Latina, Hispanic Women Preserving Our Narratives

Monday, March 9, 2015

Rockwell Pavilion (2nd Floor), MD Anderson Library, University of Houston

Panelists: Lisa Cruces, Patricia Hernández, Carolina Villaroel, with Maria Cotera

Panel participants will expand on the politics of digitizing the archive. Composed of practicing archivists, scholars, and community activists.

Lisa Cruces, Cruces joined University of Houston as the first ever Hispanic Collections Archivist in 2014. Prior to her position with UH, Cruces was a fellow with the Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame.  Along with stewarding and growing UH’s Hispanic Collections, Cruces promotes the use of archival materials in undergraduate education and an increase in community inclusivity. Her professional interests and research focus on collecting, preserving and creating access to English and Spanish language Hispanic archival collections. 

Patricia Hernandez, Patricia Hernandez was born in Corpus Christi, Texas and has lived and worked in Houston since 1985. She received her B.A. in Art & Art History as well as her B.F.A. in Painting from Rice University in 1989 and 1990, respectively. She earned her M.F.A. in Painting from the University of Houston in 2000, receiving her first solo exhibition in 1998. She has exhibited in Texas, Tennessee, New York and Vaxjo, Sweden and has taught as an adjunct instructor of art at the Glassell School of Art, San Jacinto College, Houston Community College, and the University of Houston, Clear Lake. Most recently, Hernandez founded Studio One Archive Resource and serves as its director. Created in 2010, Studio One is local non-profit that supports Houston’s alternative art spaces preserve and promote their histories.

Carolina Villaroel,  Ph.D., Carolina Villaroel is the Director of Research for University of Houston’s Arte Público Press, the nation's largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Latina and Latino authors. Additionally, Villaroel along with Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, leads the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project. The national program locates, identifies, preserves and makes accessible the literary contributions of U.S. Hispanics from colonial times through 1960.