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Transindigenous Affinities: Gender, Indigeneity, and Objects in Mexicana and Chicana Performance


This dissertation addresses issues of gender and indigeneity through an analysis of ceremonial and quotidian objects used within contemporary Mexicana and Chicana performances. Performances by women residing on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border— specifically works by artists Jesusa Rodr?guez, Fortaleza de la Mujer Maya (FOMMA), Cherr?e Moraga, and Paulina Sahagun— draw on embodied forms of knowledge to resignify myths, record testimonies, construct forms of female solidarity, and demonstrate lateral connections among oppressed populations. This project posits the concept of transindigenous materialities as the shared though distinct ways that Mexicana and Chicana performances tactically use material items, which have indigenous markers, in ways that strengthen female agency. In contrast to other work that focuses on objects in more static environments like museums or archives, this project centers on the study of objects used in performance since a reading of objects as stationary risks relegating indigenous cultures to the past and European cultures to the present. This dissertation focuses on performances that rely on objects to stage dynamic relationships between objects and subjects.

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