Dr. Emilia Yang on Feminism, Memory and Resistance in Latin America
September 15, 2022
Stamps Assistant Professor Dr. Emilia Yang has been published in a recent book on Feminism, memory and resistance in Latin America. The book, “Narrar para no olvidar: memoria y movimientos de mujeres y feministas” (English translation: Narrating to not forget memory and women’s movements and feminists), was released in July 2022 by the Centro de Estudios Superiores de Mexico y Centroamérica, a prominent research center about Mexico and Central American Studies of the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas, Mexico. The volume interweaves contemporary violence and historical exclusions with samples of rebellion, resistance and memory activism shared among women, mothers, and feminist activists throughout the Latin American with experiences of women from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras. It invites, as María Patricia González Chávez describes, to “remember, build awareness, open up to emotions and let yourself be inhabited by hope.”
Dr. Yang’s chapter, titled “Women, mothers and feminists in Nicaragua: resisting through the construction of memory and the fight against impunity,” is a work that intertwines metaphors of the nation and of women, and elaborates a narrative about the historical impunity in the face of gendered, racialized, and state violence. The article makes a historical review of the role of women in the contemporary politics of the country, from 1979 to the present, to discuss the experience of the Mothers of April, the young students, activists and feminists that are organized in the present, based on a committed and situated research.
The text evolves by articulating theory, art making and experience, analyzing and proposing ways of interpreting the future of organized women in resistance, their struggles and proposals. Based on reflections on these different experiences, Dr. Yang articulates the existence of a model of hegemonic masculinity with historical colonial roots that is still present in the current political régime. She narrates her organizing and practice based research work against a repressive state of exception, as part of the Mothers of April Association (AMA) and the project she leads: The Museum of Memory against Impunity. The author gives an account of the importance of dignifying the mortal victims of the State of Nicaragua to honor their memory and counteract the criminalizing narrative of the régime; and she elaborates on the shared pain, emotions in their experience and its transcendence from collective spaces. The article closes with some ideas about the future of justice in the country with an anti-violence and feminist approach and the abolitionist possibilities of the institutions that exercise violence in their fight against impunity.