Monday, December 10, 2012

Songwriting as Testimonio

Martha Gonzalez and Entre Mujeres

On October 2, 2012 we gathered in the UW Simpson Center for the Humanities to share and listen to Martha Gonzalez discuss song-writing as testimonio, art-based community organizing, and the implications for transformative education and scholarship.

A description of the talk she gave is below:

A song is a sonic and literary manifestation of life’s sound-scape, a cathartic memento, and a powerful political tool. Without question, a song is also an important historical text. A person’s testimonio—life views, triumphs and struggles—can be expressed in song, and in the end, a song gives witness to experience. In a communal context, the generation and performance of such songs can build common ground and transform consciousness.

Entre Mujeres, a translocal music composition project, engaged female musicians on both sides of the border in mutual dialogue through joint song-writing, making the voices, ideas, and lifeworlds of Chicanas/Latinas and Jarochas/Mexican known through the medium of song. The songs they have written and recorded together stand as testament to the kind of collective knowledge that art can create across U.S. Mexican borders.

Martha Gonzalez is a Ph.D. candidate in the UW Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, a singer-songwriter “artivista,” and a founder of the Seattle Fandango Project.

You can find more information about Martha here.

Pictures and videos to be uploaded soon!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Let us begin...

Xicana Living Pedagogies is a Graduate Interest Group for the 2012-2013 school year that begins with the support of the University of Washington's Simpson Center for the Humanities. 


Creating safe spaces for Xicanas in academia to gather and reflect while empowering one another through platica, cultural performance, and testimonio is an alterNative epistemology of ceremony as research and a resilient continuum of Indigenous scholarship from time immemorial. As carriers of embodied knowledge, our responsibility as both a cooperative and collaborative community is to enhance and promote codex creations (writing), critical reflection (dialogue), and sacred activism (action). Our ongoing sessions will occur on the fourth full moon cycle (quarterly) in which knowledge will be reclaimed, revitalized, and reintegrated into a larger discourse of Xicana intellectual thought in education and sister disciplines. Community experts inclusive of (art)ivists, local residents, and academics will be invited to share their testimonios--palabra--through creative ways of storytelling. These cultural and scholarly events will be organized and integrated into a community calendar. Our vision is to cultivate and document this project of transformation, implementing indigenous media (print and cyber), to be passed and shared as a Xicana herstorical model of living pedagogy of resistance with 
the next generations of Xicana scholars at the University of Washington. 

As we begin, I know that it was not just me that sought a place to gather and reflect. We need spaces to be in community with one another. As Xicanas living in the Pacific Northwest going through graduate school, sometimes we are isolated from one another. We may see each other in passing, but not sitting to really share with one another. Although we begin as three (Claudia Serrato, Irene Sanchez and Jessica Lozano) today September 21, 2012, may we grow strong together and grow in community, in relation to ourselves and with one another. May we never forget our purpose and the knowledge we hold, that our community holds and that our ancestors hold, this knowledge that is alive in all we do.