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Gabriela Spears-Rico

Ph.D.

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Personal profile

Research interests

Gabriela Spears-Rico is a cultural anthropologist and an Assistant Professor of Chicano Latino Studies with a joint appointment in American Indian Studies. A Pirinda- P’urhepecha scholar and poet, Spears-Rico’s BA is from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in comparative ethnic studies from the University of California at Berkeley. Her work examines manifestations of consumption and cultural appropriation in touristic transactions between mestizos and Indigenous people in Mexico. Her primary investment is in unraveling how the trauma of rape from the Spanish Conquest informs the mestiza/o desire to tour and inhabit indigenous communities. She is currently working on Mestiza/o Melancholia and the Legacy of Rape and Conquest in Michoacán, a book that explores how gendered violence has framed the racialization of Indigenous people and the manufacturing of mestizaje in Mexico. She authored “Decolonial P’urhepecha Maternalista Motherwork as Pedagogy,” in The Chicana Motherwork Anthology and “In the Time of War and Hashtags: Rehumanizing Indigeneity in the Digital Landscape” in Indigenous Interfaces, both published in 2019 by the University of Arizona Press. 

 

Dr. Spears-Rico is also a cultural worker and poet. Her poetry has been published in various anthologies including; Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas (University of Arizona Press, 2011), Love Rise Up: poems of social justice, protest, and hope (Benu Press, 2012) and will also be in the forthcoming Critical Latinx Indigeneities anthology. Locally, her creative work has been featured at Intermedia Arts, the Loft Literary Center, the Ordway Theater and the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Dr. Spears-Rico is the winner of numerous national awards, including the Mellon Mays Fellowship, the ALCS Fellowship in Native American and Indigenous Studies and the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship. At the University of Minnesota, she was awarded a residency with the Institute for Advanced Study 2021-2022 and was named a McKnight Land-Grant Professor for the years 2021-2023. 

Teaching

Courses Taught:
AMIN 1002/POL 1019: Indigenous People in Global Perspective 
CHIC 1912: Performing Latina/o/x Identities; Media, Art and Popular Culture (Freshman Seminar)
AMIN/CHIC 5212: Comparative Indigenous Feminisms of the Americas (Graduate Seminar)
CHIC 3374: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States; Families, Work, and Advocacy 
CHIC 3452: Xicana Indigena Studies; History, Politics, and Culture
CHIC 3452: Chicanx Latinx Indigeneity 
CHIC 3352: Transnational Chicano Theory 
CHIC 3223: Chicano Representation in Film 
AMIN 3201W: American Indian Literature 

Publications

Spears-Rico, Gabriela “‘End White Supremacy:’ From Black Lives Matter to the Toppling of the Columbus Statue – a testimonio from San Pablo,” accepted in Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion of Minnesota, edited by Walter R. Jacobs, Wendy Thompson Taiwo and Amy August. Minneapolis: Minnesota Historical Society Press (2021)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “Replanting you as Winyan, Uhariti, Kwe: Transnational Indigena Mothering from Michoacán to Mni Sota Makoce” accepted in Transnational Chicanx Perspectives on Ana Castillo, edited by Karen Robyal and Bernardine Hernandez. Pittsburg: University of Pittsburg Press (2021)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “Azthetix: Image of Indigenous Manly Perfection” in Agenda 33.3, 76-77. (2019)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “In the Time of War and Hashtags: Rehumanizing Indigeneity in the Digital Landscape.” Indigenous Interfaces: Spaces, Social Networks and Indigenous Identities in Latin America. Jennifer Gomez Menjivar and Gloria Elizabeth Chacon, ed. Tucson: University of Arizona Press (2019).

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “Decolonial P’urhepecha Maternalista Feminist Motherwork and Pedagogy.” The Chicana M(other)work Anthology: Porque Sin Madres No Hay Revolucion. Yvette Martinez-Vu, Judith C. Perez-Torres, Michelle Telles, Christine Vega, and Cecilia Caballero, ed. Tucson: University of Arizona Press (2019)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “In gratitude of all Yalitza gives us within the limits of Roma,” NDN Collective Stories, February 10, 2019

Professional Information

Professional Affiliations:

Member, Latin American Studies Association (2018-Present)
Member, American Studies Association (2018-Present)
Member, American Anthropological Association (2016-Present)
Member, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (2014-Present)
Member, National Association for Ethnic Studies (2014-Present)
Member, Association for Joteria Arts, Activism, and Scholarship (2018-Present)
Member, American Indian Faculty & Staff Association, University of Minnesota Twin Cities (2014-Present)
Member, Latina/o/x Faculty & Staff Association, University of Minnesota Twin Cities (2014-Present)
Member, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, (2007-Present)
Member, Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social (2007-Present)
Member, SSRC Mellon Mays Graduate Initiatives Program (2004-Present)

Creative Works

Literary Publications:

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Critical Latinx Indigeneities Ed. Lourdes Alberto Celis, Flori Boj-Lopez, Maylei Blackwell and Luis Urrieta (forthcoming)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “Indigenous Spirit” in Love Rise Up! Ed. Steve Fellner. Hopkins: Benu Press (2012)

Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Turtle Island to Abya Ayala: Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women. Ed. Micaela Valdez . San Francisco: Malinalli Press (2011)

Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. Ed. Allison Hedge Coke. Tucson: University of Arizona Press (2011)

Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Tan Lejos de Dios, poesia mexicana en la frontera norte. Ed. Uberto Sabile. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (2010)

Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Luces y Sombras. Ed. Carmen Avila. Spain: Fundacion Maria del Villar (2008) 

Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Mujeres Poetas en el Pais de las Nubes. Ed. Emilio Fuego. Mexico: Centro de Estudios de la Cultura Mixteca (2008)

Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Semillas de Achiote: An Anthology of Four Latina Poets. Ed. Jennifer Reimer. Berkeley: Achiote Press (2008)

Rico, Gabriela. Various Poems in Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry. Ed. Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Corvallis: To Topos Poetry International, Vol. 9 (2006)

 

Public Exhibitions:

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “Cronica de una Profesora: From Michoacan to CalifAztlan to Minnesota,” Poetry exhibited with Palabristas Collective, Presente!: 50 Years of Chicano Latino Studies, CLUES – Comunidades Unidas en Servicio Art Gallery, St Paul, MN (2021)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “In Memoriam: Remember Her,” Poetry performance video installation, “For Directions Exhibit: Decolonization, Identity, Resistance and Survival,” Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center, St Paul, MN (2017)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “Decolonized Wall Text on a Maya Chocolate Pot,” Poem exhibition, “Let: An Act of Reverse Incorporation,” Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Minneapolis (2016-2017)

Spears-Rico, Gabriela. “How the Vulture Lost Its Feathers,” Poem exhibition, Intermedia Arts, “Dimensions of the Indigenous: Storytelling,” Minneapolis, MN (2015)

Rico, Gabriela. “G.I. Jose” (Play), Playwright and Consultant, Directed for the stage by Cherrie Moraga, The Piggot Theater, Stanford University (2003)

Rico, Gabriela. “A Room of My Own: Portrait of Migrant Girlhood” (Original Installation). Institute for Diversity in the Arts Exhibit, Curated by James Luna, Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University (2003)

Rico, Gabriela. “Zoot Suit” (Play), Cast as “Dolores Reyna,” Directed for the Stage by Alma Martinez, Casa Zapata, Stern Hall, Stanford University (2002)

 

Selected Readings and Performances:

Featured Poet, Presente! 50 Years of Chicano and Latino Studies, Chicano and Latino Studies Department, CLUES Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, Saint Paul, MN (2021)

Featured Poet, Dia de los Muertos Celebration, Festival de las Calaveras, Minneapolis (2020)

Featured Poet (Single Feature), “The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes” Mural Restoration Unveiling, Casa Zapata, Stanford University (2020)

Featured Poet, Indigenous Writers and their Critics: An International Symposium, University of California at San Diego (2020)

Featured Poet, Visualizarte Exhibit Opening Reception, CLUES - Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, St Paul, MN (2019) 

Featured Poet (Single Feature), Flor y Canto, Stanford Latino Alumni Association Summit, Stanford University (2019)

Featured Poet, Parks and Power Minneapolis Parks Board of Commissioners Candidate Forum, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park, Minneapolis, MN (2017) 

Featured Poet, “Community Supported Art, Culturally Supported Agriculturet" Exhibit Reception, Electric Machete, Minneapolis, MN (2017)

Featured Poet, “Let: An Act of Reverse Incorporation” (Documentary Film), Produced by Andrea Carlson and the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts, Minneapolis, MN (2016)

Featured Poet/Author, As Curated by Latinx Writers, The Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis, MN (2016)

Featured Poet, Indigenous Roots Cultural Corridor at Open Streets on Franklin, Minneapolis, MN (2016)

Featured Poet (Single Feature), Pre-Show Artist Talk for Paint Your Wagon, Ordway Theater, St Paul, MN (2016)

Featured Poet, Farmworkers and Food Justice Reading, Palabristas Wordslingers, Black Dog Cafe, St Paul, MN (2015)

Featured Poet, In Xochitl In Cuicatl Night of Music, Poetry and Art, Multicultural Community Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, University of California Berkeley (2010)

Featured Poet, Yosimar Reyes’s For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly Book Release Party, MACLA- Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, CA (2009)

Featured Poet, Como La Luna: Sin Pelos En la Lengua Poetry Night, MAIZ – Movimiento de Accion Inspirando Servicio, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, San Jose, CA (2009)

Featured Poet, Indigenous People’s Night of Resistance Concert, Xinaxtly de U.C. Berkeley, Heller Lounge, Martin Luther King Student Jr. Union, University of California Berkeley (2009)

Featured Poet, Encuentro Xicano II Florycanto, Chicana/o Culture Working Group, Tilden Room, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, University of California Berkeley (2009)

Featured Poet, “Decolonizing Creativity: Fiery Women, Fierce Expressions,” 23rd Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference, Heller Lounge, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union (2008)

Featured Poet (Single Feature), Lunada Literary Lounge, Curated by Marc Piñate, Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, CA (2008) 

Featured Poet, “Walk Like a Warrior Flor y Canto de Rebeldia,” Semana de la Dignidad Rebelde, Xinaxtli de U.C. Berkeley, Heller Lounge, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, University of California Berkeley (2008)

Featured Poet/First Place Winner, Malinalli Press Presents: Xochiquetzalli Award Winners, Galeria de la Raza, San Francisco, CA (2008)

Featured Author, Achiote Press: Semillas de Achiote Release Party, Ethnic Studies Library, University of California Berkeley (2008)

Featured Poet, Indigenous Holiday Market and Concert, Seventh Native American Generation (SNAG) Magazine, Intertribal Friendship House, Oakland, CA (2008)

Featured Poet, International Women’s Day Celebration featuring Lorna Dee Cervantes, Las Manas Tres, Aya de Leon and Gabriela Rico, Chicano Latino Student Development, Heller Lounge, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, University of California Berkeley (2008)

Featured Poet, Encuentro Xicano I Florycanto, Chicana/o Culture Working Group, Maude Fife Room, Wheeler Hall, University of California Berkeley (2008)

Featured Poet, Encuentro Anual de Mujeres Poetas en el País de las Nubes, Readings at various appearances and recitals throughout the Mixtec Region of Oaxaca (2005, 2006, 2007)

Featured Poet, Recital Anual de Mujeres Poetas en el País de las Nubes, Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City (2005, 2006, 2007)

Featured Poet (Single Feature), Environmental Justice and Professional Diversity Forum, University of Michigan (2007)

Featured Poet, Noche de Flor y Canto featuring Cherrie Moraga, Chicana/o Culture Working Group, Heller Lounge, Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, University of California Berkeley (2007)

Featured Poet, Native American Women’s Poetry: Healing from Displacement, Curated by Allison Hedge Coke, DeYoung Museum, San Francisco, CA (2007)

Featured Poet (Single Feature), Poetry is not a Luxury: Celebrating Creativity Amongst Graduate Women, University of California Berkeley (2006)

Featured Poet, Third Root Art Collective Closing Performance, Curated by Lisa Marie Rollins, Aurora Theater, Berkeley, CA (2006)

Featured Poet (Single Feature), The Delivery Room Spoken Word, MACLA - Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San Jose, CA (2005)

Featured Poet (Single Feature). National Hispana Leadership Institute Annual Conference, Disney World, Orlando, FL (2004)

Featured Poet, Sisterfire! Cultural Arts Tour for Radical Women of Color, Features at tour stops in Chicago, Albuquerque, Rapid City, and San Francisco (2004)

Featured Poet, Punto Vivo: A Taste of Home; Visiting our pasts through ritual and food, Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Library, Washington, DC (2004)

Featured Poet, Noche de Cultura, Latino American Student Organization (LASO), American University, Washington DC (2004)

Featured Poet, Institute for Diversity in the Arts Spoken Word Showcase, Curated by Aya de Leon, Old Union Clubhouse, Stanford University (2003)

Expertise related to UN SDGs

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Award Date: Aug 14 2015

MA, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, BERKELEY

Award Date: May 13 2006

BA, Stanford University

Award Date: Jun 15 2003

External Positions

Coordinator, Abiayala Latin America Working Group, Native American and Indigenous Studies Association

Jun 15 2020 → …

Chair, Women's Indigenous and Native Caucus, Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social

Jun 15 2019 → …

Research Interest Keywords

  • Mexico
  • Tourism
  • Cultural Appropriation
  • Days of the Dead
  • anthropology of consumption
  • Mesoamerica
  • indigenous communities
  • mestizaje
  • Chicano indigeneity
  • politics of representation
  • Latino/a sexuality
  • Indigenous feminisms

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