Oral Presentation Session - Cosponsored Status Awarded
Sponsored by: Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists
Cosponsored by: Association for Feminist Anthropology
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Borders
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
This panel revisits the “feminist insider dilemmas” that Chicana feminist anthropologist, Pat Zavella, posed in her path-breaking article of the same name, published in 1993. In that work, Zavella problematized the idea of “insider” ethnography, narrating her field experience interviewing Mexican American women. Though she found herself to be similarly positioned in terms of ethnic identity, she recognized that her regional identity, political positionality, and her class privilege as an academic were points of separation, rendering her “outside” the community. Twenty-five years later, the anthropologists on this panel, self-identified Chicana and Latinx feminists, reflect on some of the challenges of conducting ethnography in Chicana and Latinx communities where they are simultaneously insiders and outsiders and where they negotiate the power relations inherent in field work. The papers on this panel illustrate the costs and benefits of being closely identified with the community where the anthropologist conducts her field work. This panel is particularly invested in exploring how Chicana and Latinx feminist anthropologists incorporate methodological and epistemological approaches learned in the community and/or creating such approaches anew. In doing so, this panel demonstrates the generative nature of Chicana feminist anthropology and its ongoing commitment to collaborative, reflexive, and decolonial praxis.