Garment Poetics: Costureras in Los Angeles' Garment Industry
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Fonseca-Ledezma, Jenesis Alejandra
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CitationFonseca-Ledezma, Jenesis Alejandra. 2021. Garment Poetics: Costureras in Los Angeles' Garment Industry. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractGarment Poetics explores forms of resistance amongst Mexican and Salvadoran women who work(ed) in Los Angeles, California’s garment industry. Through the theoretical framework of women of color feminism, I turn to union archives to recuperate Mexican women’s organizing work in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union. In addition, I analyze representations of costureras (immigrant women garment workers) in theatrical and cinematic productions—Josefina López’s Real Women Have Curves and the documentaries “No Sweat” (2006) and “Made in L.A.” (2007). I conclude with personal narratives and photographs based on interviews with costureras currently living and working in Los Angeles. Through close readings of various historical texts, cultural productions, and one-on-one interviews with costureras, my dissertation shows how immigrant women from Mexico and El Salvador found ways to connect and craft communities of belonging within multifaceted confines of Los Angeles’ garment industry via a form of resistance I call “garment poetics”. “Garment poetics” encompasses the ganas (will/desire) and sustained esperanza (hope) with which costureras confront power and violence in Los Angeles’ garment industry through everyday politics and poetics. My dissertation celebrates “garment poetics” as garment workers’ protest against a violent, exploitative, colonial-neocolonial global economy that renders immigrant women’s bodies as disposable, as laborers rather than women. I also interweave this dissertation with my own poetry. As the daughter of a costurera, my poetry explores memory, intergenerational differences, healing, and love.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368501
- FAS Theses and Dissertations