A Latina feminist reader
This weekend, while I was having one of my “WTF am I even doing?” moments, right in the middle of self reflection and evaluation, I received the most touching and loving email from a young Latina woman living in Northern Europe. To say that she made my day would not do her mail justice. It made my week, my month and quite possibly my year. I will leave the specifics out but, she had a question for me: do you happen to have a reading list for anyone new to feminism trying to come to terms with her identity? To be honest, I had never thought of putting such a list together. After all, my coming into feminism was a patchy affair made of pieces read here and there, texts collected from dozens of sources, printed books and PDF files and even old photocopies passed around.
Trudy, at Gradient Lair has compiled a fantastic reader of Black feminism and I wholeheartedly recommend all the titles contained in it. Additionally, Melissa Harris-Perry also compiled a must read list of Black feminism which is an excellent introduction to fundamental readings on the topic.
On my list, I wanted to focus on Latina and Latin American feminist texts. I also wanted it to be in English because not everyone of Latin@ identity necessarily speaks Spanish. So, I set out to compile a list of what I consider very important feminist texts. This is an incomplete list and I might add other titles later on. I would invite anyone coming across this to consider it an organic, living thing that is subject to additions and movement just like the kind of feminism I try to embody. Whenever possible, I have added a link to the book in question in digital format. For those I couldn’t find, I added a link to their Amazon or Google Books listing.
As a caveat, I also would like to point out that the list includes several US based authors that are part of Chicana Feminism. The reason I am including them is because I consider these texts to be fundamental reading to understand the experiences and feminisms of migrant Latina women. While those of us living in Europe have to contend with very specific forms of racial discourses, there are many common experiences with those in the US that are useful to both articulate the uniqueness of the European Union/ Europe and to reflect on the similarities, especially those that pertain to sexualization, sexism and coding the Other.
This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color – Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua
Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza – Gloria Anzaldua
Unequal sisters: An Inclusive Reader in U.S. Women’s History edited by Vicki Ruiz
Since this is a pretty expensive book and not widely available online to read, at the very least, I would recommend reading the chapter “The Development of Chicana Feminist Discourse” by Alma M. Garcia. Found in pdf format here.
From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture – Myra Mendible
Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism – Daisy Hernadez and Bushra Rehman
Don’t Be Afraid, Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks From The Heart: The Story of Elvia Alvarado – Elvia Alvarado
Especially for migrant women of color, this is a must read:
Uprootings Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration Sara Ahmed, one of my favorite feminists, edited this book with a Latina feminist, Claudia Castañeda.
As an aside, Sara Ahmed’s The Cultural Politics of Emotion is a must read. It’s not specific to Latina feminism but it is invaluable in its insights
Women of Color and Feminism – Maythee Rojas
Women’s Activism in Latin America and the Caribbean: Engendering Social Justice, Democratizing Citizenship various editors
For those who do read Spanish, I would also recommend Sexualidades migrantes. Género y transgénero edited by Diana Maffia
Bonus not specifically feminist must reads:
Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent –
Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paulo Freire
Let me know in the comments of this post if there is any other title that should be added. As I said above, I’d be very happy to continue expanding it.
EDIT: submitted by cloud-scapes, more books and resources:
- sandra cisneros – guadalupe the sex goddess
- ada maria isasi-diaz – my name is mujerista
- this post by wocinsolidarity (it also has some resources)
- also, this is only an excerpt, but marta i. cruz-jansen – latinegras
- margaret e. montoya – máscaras, trenzas y grañas un/masking the self while un/braiding latina stories and legal discourse
EDIT 2: Suggested by Graciella Brunswick
The Color of Privilege: Three Blasphemies on Race and Feminism (Critical Perspectives on Women and Gender) – Aida Hurtado
Empowering Women of Color, co-edited by Lorraine M. Gutiérrez and Edith A. Lewis
Methodology of the Oppressed – Chela Sandoval
Chicana Without Apology: The New Chicana Cultural Studies – Eden E. Torres
The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History – Emma Pérez
– Suggested by Sabrina Vourvoulias
Gendered Scenarios of Revolution: Making New Men and New Women in Nicaragua, 1975–2000 – Rosario Montoya
Maria Coteras’ Project “Chicana por mi raza”
Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self (Studies in Feminist Philosophy) – Linda Martín Alcoff
Phenomenology of Chicana Experience and Identity: Communication and Transformation in Praxis – Jacqueline M. Martinez
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