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"A Tale of Two Sisters: Feminist Interventions in Borderlands History"


Thursday, March 8. Talk by Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez (University of Texas, Austin): "A Tale of Two Sisters: Feminist Interventions in Borderlands History."  4pm, 3222 Angell Hall. Event sponsored by Latina/o Studies, English, History, Women's Studies and IRWG. Contact: Ruby Tapia <rtapia@umich.edu>.


This presentation takes the lives of two Tucsonense Mexicana sisters Atanacia Santa Cruz de Hughes and Petra Santa Cruz Stevens as an important site for thinking about the practice of borderlands history. Specifically, the ways in which gender, sexuality and race played themselves out differently in each of their distinct but connected lives shows that we cannot take such categories for granted. Scholars know very little of Petra Santa Cruz Stevens in the historical record beyond the fact that she was the wife of a congressman. Her sister, Atanacia Santa Cruz de Hughes, is one of the most often cited Tucsonense Spanish Mexican women from the era of Territorial Arizona. In addition, Atanacia had 15 children; Petra had none. Atanacia was literally a productive/reproductive citizen, birthing children to populate the sparsely inhabited AT, while her sister was childless. This in part explains why Atanacia Santa Cruz de Hughes became the mouthpiece of Tucson history and thus a permanent fixture of borderlands history while Petra Santa Cruz remains at the historical periphery. Petra became further marginalized because of the odd and violent set of circumstances of her husband's botched double suicide in 1893 where he tried to kill her and then turned the gun on himself and died a few hours later. This paper takes seriously the role of of gendered, sexual and racialized shame in shaping subjectivities of women who once occupied the upper rungs of society before the arrival of the railroad and how their falls from grace was linked to the local economic ruin brought thereafter.


Start Time: 3/8/2012  4 PM
Location: 3222 AH
Contact: rtapia@umich.edu
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