Transnational Latina Feminism

In this course, we analyze the important role of testimonios as a methodology of Latina Feminisms, through which women contest traditional historical memory, challenge authoritarian powers, and resist the silence imposed on them through political, social and economic repression. For this project, you must find a testimonio that is appealing to your research interests and write a 3-5 page analysis on the ways in which the testimonio contributes to the transnational Latina feminist movement. The Testimonio can be in audio, video or text format. You may also interview someone who has an experience related to the course themes and use this in your analysis. Your Testimonio analysis is worth 25% of your grade so you’ll have to provide evidence of doing substantial research in the process of selecting a Testimonio.

Each final paper must provide an overview of your motivations for choosing your testimonio, your methods, and your findings. As well as reasoning on why your chosen testimonio is relevant to transnational Latina feminisms.

According to John Beverly (2004, 30-31), a testimonio is:

…a novel or novella-length narrative in book or pamphlet (that is, printed as opposed to acoustic) form, told in the first person by a narrator who is also a real protagonist or witness of the event he or she recounts, and whose unit of narration is usually a “life” or a significant life experience…This situation of narration in testimonio has to involve an urgency to communicate, a problem of repression, poverty… the struggle for survival.

1. To begin, select one or two testimonios from different sources; sources include documentaries, oral histories, interviews, etc. You may also choose to conduct an interview with a friend, family, or community member so long as you can connect the testimonio back to the themes of the course.

2. In your introduction, state why you selected the testimonios. In other words, clearly explain the connections to the course themes you see in the testimonios you have selected. Remember, this may not be obvious to all readers, as we all have different ways of interpreting data. How did they “speak” to you? Be sure to write a clear, strong thesis statement or question.

3. Draw in support from the testimonios to support your work and clearly explain how it relates to your thesis. Be detailed here—draw in quotes, concepts, and histories discussed by the participants.

4. Describe the authors’ “urgency to communicate.” How do you know this? That is, provide specific examples from the text itself. Consider the authors’ aims and mode of communication (Is it a short story? A poem?). Was this approach effective? Why or why not?

5. Discuss your set of testimonios in relation to at least three readings from the syllabus section, “Testimonios and Identities.” Be sure to be clear about how these works inform and support your thesis argument.

4. Include a bibliography written in Chicago, MLA, or APA style that includes references for your testimonio(s). Your final, thesis-driven, well-edited essay should be from 3 to 5 pages in length (not including your bibliography), typed, double-spaced in a 12-point font.

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