89.6 Afro-indigenous subjectivity as an art of survival: "I am black, Indian and when I get angry I come out of the devil"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 11:35 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Christina SCHRAMM , Programa de Doctorado en Estudios de la Sociedad y la Cultura, San Josť, Costa Rica
Ethnicized, racialized, gendered and sexualized constructions of subjectivity in Afro-indigenous Costa Rican women come alive in a complex and conflictive field of tensions between perceptions of the Self and the Other. In a context of national politics based on Whiteness and clearly separable identities, the question of “Where are you from?” may not only be asked out of curiosity by unknown people on the streets, but also from doubting family members, skeptical neighbors or institutions. It confronts Afro-indigenous women with paradoxical situations of being visibly unseen and with questions of belonging concerning family and communal membership, as well as Costa Rican citizenship.

In this paper I refer to three Afro-indigenous women’s biographies. Based on fragments of narrative interviews, I will focus on how these women handle the tensions inherent to this questioning. Which psycho-emotional body language do they develop to answer the complex power relations? Creativity is needed and decides about how intersections of indigeneity, blackness, gender and sexuality are articulated explicitly and implicitly. Theoretically the analysis is nurtured by queer feminist and de/postcolonial approaches. The presentation is part of my doctoral thesis in advanced progress on subjectivities and social imaginaries of Afro-descendent and indigenous bribri women in Costa Rica that I am writing at the University of Costa Rica, in the Doctoral Program ‘Estudios de la Sociedad y la Cultura’.