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The Dark Madonna of the Americas

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The third panel of The Dark Madonna symposium addressed her manifestations in the Americas.

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Perhaps most remarkable about the papers given by Shirlene Soto and Tey-Diana Rebellodo on this panel is the resemblance to the discourse created almost a decade earlier by the artists in Venas de la Mujer.   Both papers, later published, rest on the concept of revisioning mytho-historical female figures from Mexican history, Malinche, Guadalupe, Llorona, yet no mention is made ofartistic predecessors, or indeed of any activists, despite the fact that Soto’s thesis could have come directly from one of many earlier articles.[1]

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 “the thesis of this paper is that these cultural prototypes  that have been used culturally to control  female behavior and to define femininity”[2]

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 I see this erasure of the previous discourse, that once involved activists  located outside universities, as further evidence of the women’s culture wars.  Earlier work by activists becomes subsumed by professorial writing, which carries greater scholarly weight, and thus gets cited more, creating a re-enforcing cycle of legitimization that ultimately erases completely the earlier contributions by activists.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 I want to make clear this failure rests at the level of discourse, not individual scholars.  The accounts of Chicana history emerging from academia prove so contingent and transitory that things slipped through the cracks.  By 1984 the evidence of Venas de la Mujer had already fragmented sufficiently that the evidence was lost to scholars who might have cited it, or more likely, used their art work to illustrate their talk.  Soto showed many art images, and as a southern California resident undoubtedly was familiar with Judy Baca’s work, but likely associated her only with The Great Wall.[3]

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Soto’s paper, delivered at the conference, cites early Chicana activist Marta Cotera’s book of 1976 but none of the activist publications in which Cotera’s work originally appeared.[4]  As ethnic and gender studies programs faced a considerable backlash in the 1980s, the need to legitimize their field of inquiry may have led to increased citation of scholarly, rather than activist-produced, sources.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 [1] Soto’s conference paper built on her 1983 Three Historical Models of Chicana Feminism”. El Mirlo: A National Chicano Studies Newsletter. UCLA 10,3 (Summer, 1983):; 1, 7-8.  It eventually became   “Tres modelos culturales: La Virgen de Guadalupe, La Malinche y La Llorona.” Fem 10.48(1986): 13-16. Tey-Diana Rebolledo’s paper, which is not in the archives although an audiotape of the paper being delivered does exist, appears to have been incorporated into her editorial remarks in the anthology Infinite Divisions an anthology of Chicana literature which she edited with Eliana Suarez Rivero  and published by University of Arizona Press, 1993.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 [2] Shirlene Soto.  Three Cultural Models: The Virgin of Guadalupe, La Malinche, and La LLorona” paper presented at The Dark Madonna Symposium, November 9, 1985 UCLA, Dark Madonna Papers, Center for the Study of Women Collection, University Archives, UCLA.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 [3]Cotera’s work may in fact, as noted earlier, be the first historical approach to Chican’s

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 [4] Tey-Diana Rebolledo made reference to a poster image in her presentation but I’ve not been able to track it down.  Denise Chavez’s poster Hecho en Mexico although I can find only a story of that name by Chavez.

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Source: http://politicsofwomensculture.michellemoravec.com/about-2/contention/the-womens-culture-wars/the-dark-madonna-1985-1986/the-dark-madonna-women-culture-and-community-rituals-a-symposium/the-dark-madonna-of-the-americas/