Chicana por Mi Raza is a digital humanities project that involves the collection, digitization, and display of archival materials and oral histories related to the development of Chicana Feminist thought and praxis over the long civil rights era. The project proposes both the collection of documents related to this history--photographs, posters, correspondence, written material (both published and unpublished), ephemera--and the development of a flexible user interface that can allow users to access these materials through interactive timeline and mapping utilities.
While there are some archival holdings (mostly in California and the Southwest) documenting this period, the vast majority of archives related to the history of Chicana feminism are located in the basements, attics, and garages of women who were active during the civil rights era. This project seeks to address this problem by identifying key figures, conducting oral histories with them, and digitizing their archives in situ. The idea, then, is to create a single digital access point that re-unifies an archive that is currently dispersed; one that recreates the complex network that once existed among activists who were, like their archives are now, dispersed across a wide geographic field stretching from Chicago to Texas to California, and beyond.
Maria Cotera began her career as a researcher and writer at the Chicana Research and Learning Center, a non-profit dedicated to supporting research by and about women of color. In 1989 she helped produce Crystal City: A Twenty Year Reflection, a documentary about the role of young women in the 1969 Chicano student walkouts in Crystal City, Texas. From 1992 to 1994 Cotera worked with Dr. Jose Limon (University of Texas) on a recovery project that uncovered a lost manuscript by Texas folklorist Jovita González. Published in 1996, the manuscript, entitled Caballero, includes a critical epilogue by Cotera. Since that time she has published numerous essays on Jovita González and Sioux ethnographer Ella Deloria and has recovered other works by González. Her book, Native Speakers: Ella Deloria, Zora Neale Hurston, Jovita González and the poetics of Culture (University of Texas Press, 2008) was awarded the National Women’s Studies Association Gloria Anzaldúa book prize for groundbreaking scholarship on women of color. Her current research centers on recovering the theoretical writing and cultural productions of Chicana Feminists from 1965-1985.
Shana Kimball is head of Publishing Services, Outreach & Strategic Development at MPublishing. She is broadly responsible for representing and promoting the capacity of MPublishing to the University of Michigan campus, potential external partners, and beyond. She recommends, develops and pilots new services and imprints, and assists in creating plans for locating those imprints and services permanently in MPublishing. Shana is also the editor of the Journal of Electronic Publishing. She received her MA in English Literature from the University of Michigan, and a BA in English from Pennsylvania State University.
The Author's Forum is a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, & Ann Arbor Book Festival.
Maria Cotera & Shana Kimball