A Series on Race, Power, and Critical Thought whose aim is to highlight the research of American Studies & Ethnicity (ASE) core and affiliated faculty and graduate students, and to build community through sustained conversations and workshops.
Speaker: Emma Perez (University of Colorado, Boulder)
Respondant: Macarena Gomez-Barris (ASE/Sociology)
How do queers in the U.S.-Mexico cities of El Paso and Juárez “recognize themselves as subjects of a sexuality” and what “fields of knowledge and types of normativity have led Chicana/o lesbians, gay men and transgender folks to experience a particular decolonial subjectivity? I want to consider this specific, historical, political border to argue that for border queers of color, the particular fields of knowledge that make up their sexuality is an epistemology of coloniality while engaging and performing decolonial practices to survive the colonial landscape. In other words, border queers are always already negotiating between a colonial burden and their decolonial practices. In this way, I hope to discuss the necessity of decolonizing racialized queer sexualities as a vital method for understanding queers of color.
Emma Pérez has published essays in history and feminist theory as well as The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History. Pérez’s novel, Gulf Dreams, was first published in 1996 and is considered one of the first Chicana lesbian novels in print. In fall 2003, she joined the Department of Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado, Boulder where she served as Chair for three years. Her second novel, Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory, (University of Texas Press, 2009) challenges white-male-centered westerns. The novel was awarded the Christopher Isherwood Writing Grant in December 2009, won 2nd place in Historical Fiction from International Latino Books and was a finalist in Fiction from the Lambda Literary Fiction Awards as well as a finalist in Historical Fiction from the Golden Crown Literary Awards. She is currently conducting research on a speculative novel that scrutinizes gendered immigration as well as completing a draft of an erotic mystery titled, “Electra’s Complex.” Pérez continues to theorize how our work may decolonize race and sexuality.