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La Llorona Meets Windigo: Horror Stories as Lessons of Hope

  • Sonoma State University 1801 East Cotati Avenue Rohnert Park, CA, 94928 United States (map)

Melissa Bennett, MDiv and Elena Avilés, PhD discuss indigenous monster stories as messages left by our ancestors to help us navigate difficult social and political times. These stories offer a map for restoring balance and providing healing. 

This year’s Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (MALCS) Summer Institute will take place July 19 – July 22 at Sonoma State University, located in Sonoma County, an area internationally known for its rolling green hills and exquisite wine. The Sonoma region markets itself as a bucolic paradise, a place where one can temporarily escape the issues that, now more than ever, divide our country. There is, however, a hidden side of Sonoma. The ancestral home to the coastal Miwok, Pomo and Wintun peoples, Sonoma Valley is marked by a history of violence, persecution, and subjugation driven by a desire to control its fertile land. Those who own the land and those whose laboring bodies bear the burden of the industries that drive the local economy have shaped ­its history and social and political institutions. However, the value of the contributions that Chicanas, Indigenous, and Latinxs make to Sonoma systematically has been erased.  The hidden side of Sonoma mirrors the situation of our gente in the rest of the country. Our bodies are exploited and trespassed and our bodily autonomy is subject to legislation. Our images are used strategically in a performance of diversity, but we are ignored when we decry this tokenization. Often, our attempts to challenge and expose our condition simultaneously are discounted and demonized. Yet, despite all the barriers that have been constructed to keep us in place, we have and will continue to resist, subvert, challenge, and transform.

The 2017 MALCS Summer Institute will showcase work and scholarship focused on gender non-conforming, transgender, queer, Chicana, Latina, Afro-Latina, Asian-Latina, Native American and Indigenous individuals and communities challenging and resisting structures of oppression in local, national, and international contexts. We will host panels, roundtables, performances and workshops addressing this year’s theme and the following topics:

  • Intersectional feminismos
  • Indigenous epistemologies
  • Current political climate and action[s]
  • Feminista praxis and epistemologies
  • Land, spaces, and the body
  • Re/Claiming truths
  • Self-care and healing
  • De/Coloniality
  • Voice and resistencia
  • Spiritual activisms