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Another City is Possible: Mujeres de Maiz, Radical Indigenous Mestizaje and Activist Scholarship


This dissertation examines the political and creative practices of Mujeres de Maiz (MdM/Women of the Corn), an Indigenous mestiz@ led feminist of color visual and performing arts collective based in Los Angeles. Since their inception in 1997, Mujeres de Maiz has used politically and spiritually charged art that aims to challenge social injustices, revise dominant cultural representations and build meaningful communities across differences. The research was drawn from a dual method approach: textual analysis and participant observation ethnography with the MdM collective from 2009 to 2014 to examine how urban Indigenous mestiz@s represent themselves in textual and social spaces. Few studies have paid attention to constructions of Chicano indigeneity, and fewer still to feminist indigeneity, in the twenty-first century that exists outside of Chicano nationalist and "Chican@ indigenist" paradigms. In contrast, this work examines the ways women shape, transform and extend Chican@ indigeneity and express manifestations of a "radical indigenous mestizaje" through their artivism. This research seeks to propel Chican@ Studies towards making room for a transnational feminist, hemispheric and grounded approach to indigeneity by demonstrating that these approaches are already being constructed on the ground. The dissertation is comprised of case studies and models of activist scholarship.

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