Tamara Spira

Tamara [dot] Lea [dot] Spira [at] gmail [dot] com
UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellow and Senior Researcher
UC Davis and UN Women
Appointment Dates:
(Aug 22, 2013 – May 16, 2014)
Research Project:
Unforeseen Internationalisms: 1970s Feminist Minoritarian Poetics and the Chilean and Nicaraguan Revolutions
A final chapter in my manuscript, “Unforeseen Internationalisms” theorizes the relationship between U.S. women of color feminist poetics and Latin American anti-imperialist revolutions of the late twentieth century. It provides the first study of the crosscurrents trafficking between 1970s U.S. feminist poetics and Latin American anti-imperialist struggles – and specifically the Chilean (1970-1973) and Nicaraguan (1979-1990) Revolutions. “Unforeseen Internationalisms” brings together an archive that includes June Jordan’s unpublished works on Chile and Nicaragua; a 1973 Third World Feminist poetry reading at Glide Memorial Church after the Pinochet coup and original interviews with Angela Davis. It explores the ways in which minoritarian feminist formations served as a point of triangulation, articulating between U.S. anti-racist and Third World anti-imperialist revolutions, and often alchemizing local and global struggles through poetry. It therefore intervenes into Feminist, Ethnic and Latin/a American Studies, contributing to burgeoning reconsiderations of the revolutionary 1970s through the literary sphere. This chapter rounds out my first book, Movements of Feeling, which theorizes the calling to memory animating transnational feminist cultural productions throughout the neoliberal transition; It also informs my second book on the consolidation of Zionism and shifting racial forms in (post)dictatorial Latin America, from the Cold War to the War on Terror.


1) “Intimate Internationalisms: 1970s ‘Third World’ Feminist and Queer Solidarity with the Chilean Revolution” (Forthcoming). Special Issue on “Experience, Echo, Event: Theorizing Feminist Histories” in Feminist Theory. Eds. Lisa Diedrich and Victoria Hesford.

Description: This article theorizes the relationship between 1970s U.S. Third World queer and feminist movements and Latin American anti-imperialist revolutions of the late twentieth century, and specifically the Chilean Revolution. I focus upon the historically occluded
relationships between Third World feminist and queers in Chile and the United States throughout the transition to neoliberalism. My archive includes the writings of June Jordan and Audre Lorde, The Third World Women’s Book, and – primarily – a 1973 Third World feminist poetry reading staged in San Francisco shortly after the Pinochet coup. By assembling this unconventional archive, I intervene into the domestication of U.S. anti-racist queer, Black and feminist of color politics. I argue for the profoundly internationalist foundation of these formations. Furthermore, I work to re-animate a moment in time when the affective economies of anti-colonial “global revolution” opened up space for the imagination of joint struggle— allowing a visceral sense of struggle’s urgency and vitality in ways that have since been partially eclipsed.

2) “Neoliberal Transitions: The Santiago General Cemetery and the Affective Economies of Counter-Revolution” (2013). Special Issue on “Latin American Performance and Politics” in Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power. Eds. Nancy Postero, Nicole Fabricant and Diana Taylor.

Description: Anchored in the Santiago General Cemetery, this essay analyses the management of revolutionary memory under neoliberalism. Juxtaposing the gravesites of Salvador Allende and Víctor Jara, I theorise the gendered and racialised processes through which collective dreams for justice – and even radical politics themselves – come to be co-opted under neoliberal capitalism. If in Jara’s grave we see the state performing the part of the hyper-masculine disciplinarian father, I argue, in Allende’s grave we witness the state as the begrudgingly accepting father, ready to take in the repentant children back into the nation, in exchange for obedience. Finally, I turn to alternative memorialisation practices performed by the nation’s discontents, and namely ongoing struggles for collective self-determination and decolonisation. Ultimately, I situate critiques of neoliberalism in Chile in dialogue with intersectional queer and transnational feminist scholarship on the seductive logics of neoliberalism – and emergent forms of justice that appear just beyond its purview.

3) “From the Fringes of Empire: Black and Third World Feminist Solidarities with Chile” (2013). Special issue on  “The Other 9/11: the Legacy of Chile's 1973 Coup Today” in NACLA Report on the Americas.
Description:  Third World and Black liberation struggles - including the Chilean Revolution - formed the groundwork for the cultivation of an anti-racist feminist consciousness in the United States. In addition to crossing the borders of geography, U.S. Black and Third World feminists utilized poetry - crossing the border of art and politics - in their efforts to build broad based solidarities.  This article contributes to a genealogy of these overlapping struggles.