The Antonia I. Castañeda Prize Enters Its Fifth Year

by Linda Heidenreich, Chair, Antonia I. Castañeda Prize Committee

It was just five years ago when Dr. Arturo Madrid and five esteemed scholars, Emma Pérez, Deena González, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and Dudley Brooks came together to honor the work of Antonia I. Castañeda by founding a scholarly award in her honor. In order to do justice to such an award it needed to do more than honor scholarly excellence. It needed to do so in such a way that supported independent scholars, pre-tenure scholars and advanced graduate students. It needed to help build the field of Chicana History, and to encourage interdisciplinary and cutting-edge gendered work.

For the past five years the award has done just that. Building on Dr. Castañeda’s legacy of “enGendering history,” editors and mentors have nominated the articles of Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous/Native women scholars whose work brings new and nuanced gendered analysis to our histories. Last year, thanks to the hard work of past recipients – especially Dr. Jenny Luna — we were able to host a roundtable at the national conference. This is something we hope to be able to do every 3-4 years in celebration of the innovative and exceptional work with which Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous/Native women scholars continue to build the fields of Chicana History and Chican@ Studies.

The 2015 roundtable highlighted the cutting-edge gendered history young scholars are producing today. Dr. Cindy Cruz shared from her work “LGBT Street Youth Talk Back,” where building upon the work of María Lugones, she focused our attention on oppositional struggle in “the smallest of spaces” arguing that when we fail to see resistance in small spaces/tight spaces, we are unable to see the resistance enacted by LGBT street youth, especially LGBT street youth of color. Dr. Vanessa Fonseca’s shared excerpts from her award winning paper, “Rosaura Sánchez, Crítica Marxista y Máxima Expresión del la Jolla Circle,” highlighting the consistency and complexity of Dr. Rosaura Sanchez’s work in linguistics and in Chicana/o literature. Throughout her talk, as throughout her article, Fonseca used the very tools for which she praised Sánchez, bringing a deep and layered historical context to her discussion of material analysis, linguistics and literature. Finally Dr. Jenny Luna discussed her work on Danza, “La Tradición Conchera,” highlighting the plurality of ways in which Danza is praxis challenging colonial culture and power, and at times, patriarchal discourse.

Those of you who attended NACCS 2015 will remember that it was Belinda Linn Rincón, with her article “Estas Son Mis Armas”: Lorna Dee Cervantes’ Poetics of Feminist Solidarity in the Era of Neoliberal Militarism,” who was last year’s recipient of the Castañeda Prize. Dr. Rincón’s article, in its historically grounded critical methodology, is a fine example of intersectional, interdisciplinary and feminist scholarship at its best. Its bold challenge to neo-liberalism also asks difficult questions of our own transfronterista feminist literature. If you have not yet had a chance to read it, don’t miss out (WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 42: 3&4).

I encourage you to be on the look out for independent or pre-tenure faculty women (or ABD graduate students) in your departments who will publish their work this year and nominate them for the award. The prize seeks to honor innovative work, to promote the work of new and emerging Chicana, Latina, and Indigenous/Native women scholars and, equally important, to build on the legacy of Antonia I. Castañeda, who taught our generation to gender our work, to challenge disciplinary boundaries, and to publish work that matters. Go to the NACCS website to find more information about nominating a colleague’s article for the Antonia I. Castañeda Prize.

See you in Colorado.



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