A research cluster focusing on the different systems of care that Chicanas, Latinas and Indigenous women use to access reproductive and sexual health services (contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) diagnosis and treatment, abortion, gender-based violence, menopause).
Main activity is pláticas on issues such as sexuality, menopause, pregnancy, and abortion, and the use by Chicanas, Latinas and Indigenous women of both traditional and non-traditional systems of care. The traditional systems of care utilized by these women include curanderas totales, whom are gifted in utilizing herbs, midwifery, massage and spiritual techniques. Most curanderos (men) and curanderas (women) believe that their power to heal comes from a divine source, with divine energy being channeled through their bodies, which enables them to facilitate health and well-being for others. Curanderas, who are highly respected in their local communities, are either born into a family with a tradition of curanderismo or receive the gift of healing later in life.
Other traditional healers include: 1) Yerberas or specialists of herbal remedies who use herbs, roots and teas brewed from plant leaves to treat disorders such as asthma, heart problems and ulcers; 2) Sobadoras or massage therapists who use massage and acupressure techniques to treat blockages, constipation, indigestion, relax the body and the muscles, and to soothe patients; 3) Parteras or midwives who attend births and provide prenatal, postpartum and well-woman car; and 4) Consejeras whom provide counseling, and utilize platicas (heart to heart talks) to relieve sadness, anxiety and emotional pain.
One of our main goals of the research cluster is to mentor young scholars by inviting them to attend the forums and to present their own work.
The presentations would be in conjunction with other events, in particular the guest speakers’ series, so that the junior scholars would also have the benefit of discussing the recent literature or meeting other scholars in the field.
We intend to build an intellectual network in the northern California region.
Curandera Session: "Indeginous Sexuality and the Art of Herbalism" May 15, 2009
Curandera Workshop: "Workshop with Native Women: Conversations about Caring Our Bodies" May 16, 2009