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Publication Date

Fall 2011

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Arts


David Kahn


Maternal Imaginary, Oral History Performance, Performance as Research, Queer Chicana Feminism, Queer Theory, Undocumented Immigration

Subject Areas

Performing arts; Latin American studies; Gender studies


This thesis project uses an experimental and bi-methodological approach of "critical oral history performance" and "performance as research" in order to produce and analyze the oral histories of two Latina women who migrated via México during pregnancy as "undocumented" subjects. These women (called ) now reside in the Silicon Valley. One of the oral histories was with a Guatemalan woman who migrated in 2005 during her third month of pregnancy, and the other was with a Mexican woman who migrated in 1999 during her fifth month. The stories, collected in January and February of 2011, constitute the primary source materials that this project explores with the critical lenses of gender theory, performance theory, Chicana feminism, and queer theory.

This project also includes a "performance as research" component, . Here, the primary sources were used to develop a mixed media performance installation that used elements of sound, video, and movement--all based on the oral histories and produced in some dialogue with the . The performances took place in April 2011, and they, too, are sites of critical inquiry and an attempt to further the analysis of the primary sources through a range of embodied strategies. One attended and provided useful feedback. This thesis also analyzes the "performance as research" component of this work. Above all, this project is rooted in a social justice imperative and asks what we have to learn from the Latina maternal voice and imaginary.