Reflections on Citizenship, Latin American Identities and Decolonization

madelaine c. cahuas, PhD

Over the course of my research project this past year I’ve encountered numerous, engaging and at times difficult discussions on identity, race and decolonization across Latin American community organizing spaces. I hear youth asking, who are we? What do we call ourselves? What does it mean to be Black, Indigenous and Latin American in this place? This place, that is Toronto and settler colonial Canada. This kind of questioning was especially seen in the debates surrounding Bill 28 – An Act to proclaim the month of October as Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) in Ontario – passed last spring of 2015. In my project, I show how the kinds of discourses mobilized around this cultural celebration provide a telling example of how racialized migrant communities can reinforce and disrupt colonial relationships through particular citizenship and identity-building practices.

Sunera Thobani (2007) argues that in the context of a white settler state like…

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When the Field is Home: Building a Latina Feminist Research Praxis

Check out Madelaine’s new blog post reflecting on the challenges and possibilities of doing research!

madelaine c. cahuas, PhD

I’m almost a month into starting my interviews with Latin American women across the Greater Toronto Area who have been, or are currently involved in social and environmental justice activism; and I’m overwhelmed in the best way possible. After much internal turmoil of how I was going to present my research project to community members and my compañerxs, my work has received more interest than I ever anticipated. My worry stemmed from the ways researchers have historically, and continue to extract knowledge from racialized and working-class communities to further agendas that do little to nothing to work in solidarity with their struggles for liberation. I knew that the people I wanted to speak to, Latin American activists, would already be keenly aware of this and would most likely challenge me to consider the contradictions of my position as a Latina conducting research with her “ethnic community” in the academy.


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