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Geographies of Activism: Cartographic Memory and Community Practices of Care

Colloquium | March 15 | 4-5:30 p.m. | 2538 Channing (Inst. for the Study of Societal Issues), Wildavsky Conference Room


Juan Herrera, Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies, School of Language, Culture, and Society, Oregon State University

Chris Zepeda-Millán, Assistant Professor, Chair of the Center for Research on Social Change (CRSC), Comparative Ethnic Studies, Chicano/Latino Studies, UC Berkeley

Center for Ethnographic Research, Department of Ethnic Studies, Institute of Urban and Regional Development


Less visible than 1960s Chicano Movement protest politics of sit-ins, marches, and boycotts are the Mexican American activists who created community-based organizations by enlisting residents in neighborhood improvement projects. Drawing from oral histories of 1960s activists from Oakland’s Fruitvale district, Professor Herrera shows how they consolidated a robust politics of place—establishing institutions that transformed the urban landscape and fashioned lasting commitments to social justice. He argues that the work of remembering 1960s activism is a cartographic process that draws attention to the social movement production of space. His concept of cartographic memory is a practice deployed by activists and an analytic to interpret how and why they defined their activities though the invocation and graphing of space. Activists’ cartographic recollections were fundamentally political claims to power that operated through space. Their memories served as a central device to bring into focus the transformative and experimental aspects of the Chicano movement, and its enduring impacts.


cer@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0813