Thursday, January 17, 2013
Indigenous women who migrate to the United States suffer human rights violations at every step: in their homes, where violence and impunity compel them to migrate; as they cross the wide expanse of Mexico; and once they enter the United States, where they face new vulnerability to partners or strangers if they are undocumented and incarceration if they ask for asylum.
This is not what was supposed to happen. The multicultural reforms of the 1990s in various Latin American countries generated hope and unprecedented social mobilization for indigenous women seeking full access to their human rights. However, the promises of neoliberal multiculturalism never materialized. Indigenous people suffered all the damage of ruthless neoliberal economics, without the democratic politics, rights regimes, and rule of law it was supposed to bring with it. In their stead, there are illegal economies on a massive scale and increasingly authoritarian states militarizing to combat illegality, while corruptly participating in it to reap some profits. This talk takes indigenous women migrants’ oral histories as a point of departure for analyzing the larger structures of power that mark them for
violence and render their human rights all but non-existent in the violent era Speed calls “neoliberal multicriminalism.”
Shannon Speed is Associate Professor of Anthropology and the Director of Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS) at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research and teaching interests include indigenous politics, human rights, neoliberalism, gender, feminist theory, and activist research. She has published five books and edited volumes, including Dissident Women: Gender and Cultural Politics in Chiapas (2006), Rights in Rebellion: Human Rights and Indigenous Struggle in Chiapas (2007), and Human Rights in the Maya Region: Global Politics,Moral Engagements, and Cultural Contentions (2008).