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Friday, December 3, 2021

Prominent writer Cherríe Moraga speaks at Manetti Shrem Museum

Writer gives talk as part of “Xixanx Futurity” exhibit

Esteemed and internationally-recognized poet, feminist, essayist and playwright Cherríe Moraga spoke at the Manetti Shrem museum as part of the “Xixanx Futurity” exhibit on Feb. 14. Students, faculty and community members were present for the talk titled “Cherríe Moraga in Conversation,” a conversation between Moraga and Susy Zepeda, an assistant professor of Chicano/Chicana studies at UC Davis.

The “Xixanx Futurity” exhibit confronts intergenerational dialogue and attention rooted in understanding the past while working toward the future, a focus that Moraga, also a professor of English at UC Santa Barbara, has written about since before she began her professional career. The talk offered further insight into the magnitude and importance the current exhibit holds.

Moraga’s professional life began in 1981 with her co-editorship of the groundbreaking feminist anthology “This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.” She is also a founder of  “La Red Xicana,” a social justice activist “network of Xicana activists committed to indigenous political education, spiritual practice, and grassroots organizing.”

Attendees of the event extended beyond the designated speaker area, with only standing area left at the back of the room. As people continued to walk in and listen to Moraga speak, students working at the Shrem greeted and welcomed guests.

Various levels of familiarity as well as personal and academic backgrounds were reflected in the questions that members of the audience asked Moraga after her conversation. Questions ranged from a Ph.D candidate who referenced a specific, controversial work of Moraga’s to a student who asked about Moraga’s role in accomplishing her Xicanx activism.

Moraga answered all of the questions thoughtfully. She received snaps and cheers from the audience when she stated, “this is theory in the flesh,” and “when I walked out of my house, I walked into the Xicanx movement.”

Christina Boyar, a fourth-year cognitive science major, remarked on the difficult topics Moraga navigated through. Boyar felt Moraga offered thorough and candid insights on topics ranging from deeply personal spiritual experiences to the power of art and systems of oppression in both formal institutions and social justice movements. Boyar said this made for a “dynamic, deeply interesting discussion.”

Jaxon Grandchamp, a fourth-year psychology major, said “it was an interesting conversation between three strong women.”

Written By: Rosie Schwarz — arts@theaggie.org

Campus news reporter Deana Medina also contributed to this report.

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