Dispatches from NWSA

13 Nov

Hi Family,

We thought we would share a few our experiences here at the 31st annual National Women’s Studies Association Conference.

On Thursday night, Andrea (Andy) Smith along with Renya Ramirez rocked the house in a keynote called “Indigenous Feminisms: Theories, Methods, and Politics.” We thought they worked really well together. Ramirez provided the scaffolding with a much-needed discussion of the range of native and indigenous feminisms and praxis both here and globally. Andy Smith said way too much to recount here, but in particular she reminded us that white supremacy has three pillars, anti-black racism, settler colonialism, and orientalism. So our struggles are linked, and we should begin to think outside the frame of mutual and/or competing oppressions, and begin to think in terms of mutual complicity. Real talk.

Bright and early Friday morn, 8am Mountain Standard Time, all the CFs gathered for a decidely, deliciously crunk round table. (Speaking of delicious, remind us to tell you sometime about the feminist anointing oil to exorcise the sexist demons among us). But I digress. At the table were CFs Susana, Brittney, Crunkista, Rachel, Chanel, Sheri, and Aisha. Our discussion was in three areas: our cultural work, relationships, and self-care; we chose these based upon your favorite posts. So thanks, for the love, fam!

And then, as if your soul weren’t already overflowing: we heard M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Mohanty in yesterday’s plenary, “Collaboration as Feminist Praxis.” This wonderfully engaging talk gave us a framework for considering how we develop our own collective and collaborative work. They told us that collaboration is their mode and their praxis. We see it takes hard work, but it is meaningful, powerful work. In particular, they talked about how they incorporated critiques of their work, letting us know that all critiques aren’t valid, but that for the ones that are, particularly indigenous feminist interventions, they definitely took them seriously and responded.

Susana discussed feminist vampires a la Jewelle Gomez in a panel on Intimacy. It was awesome!

We started off this morning with a powerful, powerful roundtable from Ella’s Daughters. In addition to being in the room with Barbara Ransby, ED’s founder, Jacqui Alexander, Stanlie James, and Angela Davis, we learned about political quilting as a form of collaborative organizing. Check out Ella’s Daughters and get involved.

And then we attended CF Chanel’s roundtable on “Radical Anti-Racist and Feminist Pedagogy.” We interacted in groups, thought together about how to make our pedagogical work transformative and inclusive. And then we had a cipher, crunk style, about the classroom space.

Susiemaye on the classroom:

Affirming & Disruptive

Sites of meaning-making



illuminating spaces

where one can


& be heard.

Crunktastic on the classroom:

Where liberation is possible

irritation is probable

self-reflection is laudable

confrontation is unavoidable

and your voice

will be audible

and transformation


our gospel.


Alright fam. We have more dispatches coming. In the meantime…enjoy. We are off to the next plenary, “Complicating the Queer” featuring Juana Maria Rodriguez and Gayatri Gopinath.

2 Responses to “Dispatches from NWSA”

  1. Brittney Highsmith November 13, 2010 at 2:59 PM #

    Definitely wish I could be in attendance.


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