Catherine Walsh es una intelectual-militante involucrada durante muchos años en los procesos y luchas de justicia y transformación social, primeramente en Estados Unidos (donde trabajó de cerca con Paulo Freire) y, en los últimos más de 20 años, en Abya Yala (América Latina) y Ecuador, donde tiene una trayectoria larga de acompañamiento a los procesos de los movimientos indígenas y afrodescendientes. (...) (ver texto completo en etiqueta Presentación)
Catherine Walsh is an intellectual-militant involved for many years in the processes and struggles of justice and social transformation, first in the US and then, in the last almost 25 years, in Ecuador and Latin America.
Her militancy began in the 1970s with multiracial and feminist collectives at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Amherst fighting against the war machine and the racist-patriarchal system of capital and knowledge. She organized an anti-racist and anti-sexist alternative school in this decade, and also experimented with communal life. In addition, she spent two years in Ecuador, teaching dance and working as a cook in a restaurant-cultural collective project.
In the 80s Catherine returned to UMASS Amherst to do graduate studies under the mentorship of the historian and civil rights activist Meyer Weinberg; together they built the “Horace Mann Bond” Center for Equal Education. Upon finishing her doctorate in 1984, she was invited to remain at the University; later, in 1990, she moved to UMASS Boston. At both sites, she headed the office of a regional center that promoted bilingual education, the training of teachers, and linguistic and cultural rights.
Throughout the 1980s and until the mid-1990s, Catherine worked with African-American, Puerto Rican, Latinx, Haitian, Asian and Cape Verdean activists and communities and with legal advocacy organizations, including the Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Multicultural Training and Advocacy Project-META, in cases against racism and in favor of cultural, linguistic, and educational rights. She worked closely with the well-known pedagogue Paulo Freire for three years, co-facilitating popular education seminars in the Latinx community and seminars at the University. With Freire and other committed intellectuals, they formed the first national network of critical pedagogy. During this period of her life, Catherine also participated in collective projects with the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College in NY and the Puerto Rican Roundtable, and supported the training of Latinx youth researchers in Boston, NY and in Southern California (see, for example, her books Pedagogy and the Struggle for Voice: Language Culture, and Schooling for Puerto Ricansand Education Reform and Social Change: Multicultural Voices, Struggles, and Visions). In addition, she worked collectively with Haitian teachers to create a Freirean literacy program in kreyol and English in Boston for refugee and immigrant teens with no formal education experience, a program that extended to NY and Miami.
In 1993, she was awarded a Fulbright grant for research in Ecuador on the struggle and politics of Indigenous bilingual education (historically part of the movement´s demands). During this year she worked collaboratively with the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador-CONAIE, work that included, at their request, the conceptualization -with Indigenous educators and leaders- of an Indigenous university project. In the mid-1990s, and during the time she was making her immigration transition to Ecuador, she worked as a senior urban research advisor at Brown University, within a project of the Northeast and Islands Educational Lab focused on urban socio-educational transformation in NY, Boston, Hartford, Providence, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Since 1996, Catherine lives permanently in Ecuador. She is a senior professor at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (UASB), a graduate-level, public and international institution, and director/ founder of the Doctorate in Latin American Cultural Studies, a program/project focused on the interweaving of culture, politics, economics, social struggle and critical thinking, and which involves committed intellectuals from Latin America and the Global South. From 2011 to 2017 she also directed the Chair of Afro-Andean Studies.
In Latin America, Catherine has deepened her intellectual militancy and thought/praxis, including with social movements and collectives from Mexico to the Southern Cone. She has a long trajectory of collaboration, accompaniment, and thinking with Indigenous movements, and, since 1999, with Black organizations in Ecuador and South America. In 2002, Catherine formed, with the teacher, community leader and Afro-Ecuadorian intellectual Juan García Salazar of the Process of Black Communities, the Afro-Andean Documentary Fund, the largest archive in Latin America of African-descendent oral and visual collective memory, a living archive placed “in trust” at the UASB. With García, she has a series of writings, including, in English, “(W)riting Collective Memory (De)spite State: Decolonial Practices of Existence in Ecuador” (2015) andamong others in Spanish, the book Pensar sembrando/Sembrar pensando con Abuelo Zenón (To Think Sowing/To Sow Thinking with Grandfather Zenon), published in 2017, a few months before Juan´s passing.
She was an adviser to Ecuador´s Constitutional Assembly (2007-2008) on issues of Afro-Ecuadorian rights and on the concept and practice of an intercultural and plurinational state, and also worked collaboratively for some years with several Indigenous local governments. In 2010 and again in 2017, she was the winner of the Illescas de Oro prize (an award that bears the name of the first maroon in Ecuador: Alonso Illescas) awarded by Afro-Ecuadorian organizations. And in December 2013, she was invited by the Zapatista Subcomandantes Marcos and Moisés to participate as a first grade student in the “Little Zapatista School” in the course on “Autonomy and Freedom according to the Zapatistas.”
Catherine´s research and writing have been focused in recent years on the political, epistemic, ethical, and existential project of critical interculturality and decoloniality, taking as central axes the geopolitics of knowledge; Black and Indigenous philosophies, and social, political, epistemic, and re-existence based struggles and praxis; feminist thought/praxis; and decolonial pedagogies/ praxis. Her particular interest today is with the decolonial “how(s)” and the concrete practices of an “otherwise”. The collective book Pedagogías decoloniales: Prácticas insurgentes de resistir, re-existir y re-vivir (Decolonial Pedagogies: Insurgent Practices of Resisting, Re-existing and Re-Living),Volume 2, is a good example of this.
Catherine´s extensive list of publications includes more than 200 books, chapters and articles published in various continents and various languages. She is the co-editor of the translation of Stuart Hall’s work into Spanish. She has been a professor and guest speaker in, among other countries, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, in different nations of the Caribbean, in South Korea, and in Canada, the United States and Europe. In 2011, she received the distinction of being named Andrew W. Mellon Professor at Duke University; from 2012 to 2014 she was a visiting professor at this same University where she received recognition as a teacher of excellence (2013 and 2014). In 2018, she was a fellow at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, within the project “Decoloniality after decolonization: Questions of knowledge and higher education in Southern Africa and the Global South”. For Catherine, all these experiences have been opportunities to continue in her weaving of connections, networks, and relations among people, groups, and experiences not only in the Americas but worldwide.
She is co-editor, with Walter Mignolo, of the new Duke Press series “On Decoloniality”, and recently co-authored with Mignolo the first book of the series On Decoloniality. Concepts, Analytics, Praxis(2018). She is also coordinator of the series “Pensamiento decolonial” (Decolonial Thought) at the Abya-Yala publishing house, and member of a number of international editorial boards, including the “Global Critical Caribbean Thought” book series of the Caribbean Philosophy Association and Rowman & Littlefield International, and “Decolonial Options for the Social Sciences,” at Lexington/Rowman & Littlefield Press. For a list of publications in English see the link Published in English on this blog.