Vicki Ruiz (University of California, Irvine), "Class Acts: Latina Feminist Traditions, 1900-1930"

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“ . . . women are capable of everything and anything,” declared Puerto Rican labor radical Luisa Capetillo, in her landmark feminist treatise, Mi opinión sobra las libertades, derechos y deberes de la mujer. (My opinion on the liberties, rights, and duties of woman). Published in 1911, this manifesto articulated a radical vision that promoted republican motherhood alongside free love and proletarian revolution. Less bold, a teenage Guatemalan feminist, Rosa Rodríguez López (aka Luisa Moreno) stressed the importance of education across class: “ . . .the woman continues to be attached to ignorance; her emancipation is necessary. Feminism will make her become Conscious. . ., and. . .by obtaining an adequate education, she will be prepared [for].. . a much more ambitious future.” At the turn of the twentieth-century, Luisa Capetillo emerged as a passionate leader in Puerto Rico’s labor movement and later extended her reach into the Caribbean and the United States. Luisa Moreno, the first Latina to hold national office in a major CIO union, is also known for her leadership in organizing the 1939 El Congreso del Pueblo de Habla Española (the Spanish-Speaking People’s Congress), the first national U.S. Latino civil rights conference. Though they never met (Capetillo died at age forty-two when Moreno was only sixteen), their legacies as labor leaders and feminist intellectuals intersect in multiple ways, especially in terms of their unwavering commitment to a radical labor politics. Though starkly divergent, but, at times, hauntingly similar, their feminist writings reveal women’s transnational circuits of knowledge that extended across generations.

Free and open to the public. Wheelchair accessible. Reception to follow.

See also:
Research Seminar with Vicki Ruiz (UC Irvine), "Uncharted Journeys: My Life in History"
Wednesday, March 23, 2016 10:00am - 11:00am

Vicki Ruiz is Distinguished Professor of History and Chicano/Latino Studies and Chair of the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine. Over the course of three decades Ruiz pioneered the field of Chicana/Latina history and has published over fifty essays and one dozen books. An award-winning scholar, she is the author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America. Her edited or co-edited anthologies include Unequal Sisters: An Inclusive Reader in U.S. Women's History. She and Virginia Sánchez Korrol co-edited the three-volume Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, which received a 2007 "Best in Reference" Award from the New York Public Library. In 2015 Ruiz received a National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama.

A CSREA Faculty Grant Event: Monica Martinez, Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnic Studies. 

Cosponsored by American Studies, Department of History, Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Cogut Center for the Humanities, and the US Latino Studies Fund. 

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