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date: 18 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Latinas, members of the largest ethnic/racial group in the United States, often have been omitted from social movement accounts or dismissed as politically passive, hindered by traditional cultural values. Like other women of color, Latinas have faced sexism and racism and class bias in social science accounts and social movements (civil rights, labor rights, and women’s rights). This chapter begins by problematizing the pan-ethnic label “Latina,” drawing from conceptual frameworks, including Anzaldúa’s “borderlands,” Crenshaw’s “intersectionality,” social movement theories of identity, and decolonial feminist theory. It provides a brief historical overview of Latinas in U.S. social movements to illustrate the significance of conquest and colonization as the critical context for generating Latina activism. The chapter concludes with a closer look at two social movements, environmental rights and immigrant rights, where Latinas were prominent participants who utilized ethnic, class, and gender identities as movement strategies to make claims and to mobilize constituents.

Keywords: Latinas, decolonial feminism, environmental rights, immigrant rights, gender, social movements, Latina activism

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