Racialization / Racialización

Writing about Violence: A Joint Reflection from Latin America and the Middle East by Hiba Bou Akar and Roosbelinda Cárdenas

Although we cannot pinpoint the exact origin of the idea to co-teach a comparative course on contemporary politics in the Middle East and Latin America, we remember well what followed from that initial decision in late 2015. First there was the excitement that accompanies an emergent sense of possibility. As we reviewed the literature while designing the course, we found numerous connections and continuities that allowed us to place Latin America and the Middle East in joint focus. But resonance and similarity were not the only promise, so we developed a syllabus that also explored the differences and disjunctures. We discussed the state’s role in gendering, as people in the informal sector stake their claims to livelihoods in Egypt and the Dominican Republic. [1] We thought through the racially-contested geographies that characterize black women’s fight against land grabs in Brazil and the negotiations and resistance against the building of the separation wall in Israel and Palestine. [2] We reflected on the oil modernities of Dubai and Venezuela [3] and discussed the aftermaths of the Pink Tide in Latin America and the Arab spring in the Middle East. [4]

Yet, as we pulled out these promising lines of connection we had to confront the realization that many of them were framed in experiences of violence. Suddenly, our syllabus began to read like a list of dystopic nightmares: devastated landscapes, persistent forms of gendered subjugation, ever-more exploitative labor regimes, voracious resource extraction and seemingly endless cycles of war. Our initial excitement turned into somber reflection.

With this realization, we entered the classroom with a sense of both anticipation and urgency. The class brought together students from diverse backgrounds and experiences, creating a rare opportunity for them to complement their skills and enter into rich dialogues as we thought through issues across the two regions. [5] The semester-long project assignment we designed produced exciting results as students made unexpected connections. Posters of their final projects pinned on our class walls displayed the generative potential of thinking comparatively: on political graffiti and street art in Cairo and Bogota, the state’s role in Brazilian favelas and West Bank refugee camps, drug wars in Mexico and Afghanistan, the tactics of Zapatista and Kurdish women’s resistance movements and diasporic influences in popular music in both regions, among other projects. In addition, this pedagogical experiment afforded the two of us a unique space where we could have South-South conversations, beyond the Eurocentric gaze, about places we call home.

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Mujeres negras (sirvientas, putas, matronas): una aproximación a la mujer negra de Colombia

por Betty Ruth Lozano Lerma

Este texto se interroga por lo que significa ser mujer negra en el contexto de inequidad y violencias de todo tipo que padece la sociedad colombiana. Plantea que para el análisis de la situación de la mujer negra no es suficiente herramienta la categoría género; que se hace necesario un análisis que articule diversas categorías como la étnico/racial, la clase, la orientación sexual y que, además de cuestionarlas, las llene de nuevos contenidos desde las experiencias concretas de las mujeres y comunidades negras. Discute con una visión universalista del feminismo y de la izquierda tradicional. El texto examina las razones de la pobreza de la población negra especialmente en la región del Pacífico colombiano y analiza el surgimiento institucional de las organizaciones de mujeres en esa misma región. Se hace una presentación de la forma como las comunidades del Pacífico devinieron étnicas en el contexto de reglamentación del Artículo Transitorio 55 de la Constitución Política de 1991 y se termina mostrando cómo la opresión tiene muchos rostros para la población negra y en especial para las mujeres negras.

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Witch-Hunting, Globalization, and Feminist Solidarity in Africa Today

by Silvia Federici

Witch-hunting did not disappear from the repertoire of the bourgeoisie with the abolition of slavery. On the contrary, the global expansion of capitalism through colonization and Christianization ensured that this persecution would be planted in the body of colonized societies, and, in time, would be carried out by the subjugated communities in their own name and against their own members. (Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch, Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation)

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