Interview with Maylei Blackwell

Maylei Blackwell is an interdisciplinary scholar activist and oral historian. She is an Associate Professor in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies and Women’s Studies Department at UCLA where she is also affiliated faculty in the American Indian Studies and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies. Her research has two distinct, but interrelated trajectories that broadly analyze how women’s social movements in the U.S. and Mexico are shaped by questions of difference — factors such as race, indigeneity, class, sexuality or citizenship status — and how these differences impact the possibilities and challenges of transnational organizing. Maylei has authored the book “¡Chicana Power!: Contested Histories of Feminism in the Chicano Movement” (2011), a study of women’s involvement in the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s. She is also author and co-author of several articles and book chapters including “Encountering Latin American and Caribbean Feminisms” (2003), “Contested Histories: Las Hijas de Cuauhtemoc, Chicana Feminisms, and Print Culture in the Chicano movement, 1968-1973” (2003) and “Whose Feminism, Whose History? Reflections on Excavating the History of (the) US Women’s Movement (s)” (1998). Through collaborative and community-based research, Maylei has excavated genealogies of women of color feminism in the U.S. and accompanied indigenous women organizers in Mexico as well as feminist movements and sexual rights activists throughout Latin American. Her most recent research with farm worker women and indigenous migrants seeks to better understand new forms of grassroots transnationalism.