REI Colloquium – My mother, the painter: Storytelling in Central American Studies, with Professor Leisy J. Abrego
The Institute of Governmental Studies is pleased to present "My mother, the painter: Storytelling in Central American Studies," a talk with Professor Leisy J. Abrego (Professor and Chair in the Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at UCLA).
Central American Studies is a budding field in the United States where increasingly, members of the diaspora are using research to better understand the experiences of war, migration, denial of refugee status, denial of legal protections, and identity development. This talk will share the story of an interview conducted with Professor Abrego's mother, Margoth Abrego. Although the initial goal of the exchange was to focus solely on her art, the meandering conversation ultimately included her recollection of patriarchal violence, war trauma, and state-sponsored violence – details that provide context for understanding her creative process, artistic themes, and joy. Storytelling produced through such conversations is one possibility for engaging survivors of state violence, honoring their experiences holistically, and highlighting their agency in intimate ways.
Leisy J. Abrego is Professor and Chair in the Department of Chicana/o and Central American Studies at UCLA. Her scholarship analyzing legal consciousness and legal violence explores the structures that produce inequality and the modes of resistance of different subsectors of Latina/o/x immigrants, including undocumented students and transnational families. She is the author of Sacrificing Families: Navigating Laws, Labor, and Love Across Borders (Stanford University Press, 2014); Immigrant Families (with Cecilia Menjívar and Leah Schmalzbauer, Polity Press, 2017); and We Are Not Dreamers: Undocumented Scholars Theorize Undocumented Life in the United States (co-edited with Genevieve Negrón-Gonzales, Duke University Press, 2020).
This talk is part of the Race, Ethnicity and Immigration Colloquium, sponsored by The Institute of Governmental Studies.