"Intimate Internationalisms: Toward an Anti-Imperialist Erotics of Feminist Solidarity"

Event Date: 

Thursday, January 23, 2014 - 1:00pm

Event Location: 

  • South Hall 4631A
  • Feminist Studies Conference Room

This talk theorizes the relationship between 1970s U.S. Third World queer and feminist movements and Latin American anti-imperialist revolutions of the late twentieth century. I focus upon the historically occluded relationships between Third World feminist and queers in Chile and the United States throughout the transition to neoliberalism. My archive includes June Jordan’s unpublished exchanges with her Chilean translator, the writings of Audre Lorde, and a 1973 Third World feminist poetry reading staged in San Francisco shortly after the Pinochet coup. I also consider previously “disappeared” chronicles of Angela Davis in Allende’s Chile. By juxtaposing this archive, I intervene into the domestication of U.S. anti-racist queer and feminist of color politics. I argue for the profoundly internationalist foundation of these formations. Furthermore, I work to re-animate a moment in time when the affective economies of anti-colonial “global revolution” opened up space for the imagination of joint struggle—allowing a visceral sense of struggle’s urgency and vitality in ways that have since been partially eclipsed. In so doing, I unsettle neoliberalism’s re-colonization of the subject, pointing to a genealogy of feminist and queer internationalisms that offers political rejuvenation to contemporary feminist movements and knowledge frameworks.

Tamara Lea Spira is a scholar of and Critical Race Feminist Studies, Sexuality Studies, and Latin American Studies. She received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz in History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies Departments. She was awarded a UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis and is currently a Research Scholar at the Beatrice Bain Research Center at UC Berkeley, where she is coordinating the collective project “Archiving 1960s and 1970s Third World and Anti-Colonial Feminist and Queer Transnational Solidarities." Dr. Spira teaches in Women's and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Latin American Studies at the University of Oregon. Her writings have been published in journals such as Radical History Review, Identities, Feminist Theory (forthcoming), The International Journal of Feminist Politics, E-misférica, and NACLA Journal on the Americas, as well as several anthologies. Spira is currently revising her first book manuscript on transnational queer and feminist memories of 1970s revolutions and the amnesias of neoliberalism. She has also begun her second book project on Palestinian and Jewish memory and shifting racial forms of empire in post-dictatorial Chile and Argentina.