Dr. Evelyn Saavedra Autry is a 2020-2021 American Council of Learned Societies Emerging Voices Fellow and a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in Race, Racism, and Inequality at the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. in Latin American Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Georgia. Her research creates a conversation between various fields of knowledge, particularly Indigenous epistemologies, and pedagogies, literature, cultural studies on (de)coloniality, and gender studies, through the analysis of Andean women’s identity formations.
Race, Gender, and Memory in Narratives of the Andes, Dr. Saavedra Autry constructs a genealogy of gender-based violence that offers an in-depth examination of the colonial mechanisms behind the objectification of Indigenous women. This book asks, in what ways do cultural productions configure racialized women? How do traditional and contemporary narratives of gendered violence represent indigenized female bodies? How is knowledge production about Indigenous women’s experiences shaping memory politics and human rights discourses? Responding to these questions, the book is propelled by the necessity to examine a diverse corpus that includes chronicles of the Spanish conquest, foundational indigenista works, popular Indigenous art, and literature of Peru’s armed conflict. By reading these materials together and drawing from the fields of literature, history, and studies on coloniality, gender, and memory, the book traces how Indigenous female bodies have been understood, constructed, and commodified as sites of conquest, free labor, sexual availability, and justified violence.
In addition to her monograph, she is currently drafting the articles “Indigenous Herstories of Resurgence: Mama Quilla and Peru’s Cultural Productions of Armed Struggle” and “Mobilizing across National Lines Against Totalitarianism: Andean Women’s Indigenous-Led Activism and Protest in Peru and the United States.” In relation to her research interests, her article “Insurgent Memories of War: Self-representation by Female ex-Combatants in Peru” (Forthcoming Fall 2024) will be published by Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism Journal. Recently, Dr. Saavedra Autry’s essay “Singing Feminist Ch’ixi+Art Music from Las Rajaduras: Renata Flores, Isqun, and the Fractured Locus” was accepted by Feminist Formations Journal. She published “Construcción de identidades femeninas andinas” in The Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Her article “Testimonio, ficción y las batallas por las memorias en Insensatez” appeared in Vernacular. It is worth noting that she has also published works on colonial studies and the Peruvian Avant-garde. “Mitos fundacionales en los Comentarios Reales de los Incas” was published by Caracoles. Her article titled “El pobre más rico: heterogeneidad y transculturación en el teatro quechua colonial” appeared in Lamar Journal. Her study “Magda Portal: procesos de modernización, vanguardismo y compromiso” was published by Entre Caníbales and listed as an essential work in the volume Magda Portal: Bibliografía Esencial.
Over the last ten years, Dr. Saavedra Autry has gained significant experience teaching graduate and undergraduate courses. At Rutgers, she has developed and taught graduate and undergraduate seminars on contemporary feminist theory, decolonial and Indigenous feminism, and social justice movements. At the University of Georgia, where she taught Latinx Studies and Spanish, she developed syllabi and materials for face-to-face and online instruction. As a scholar committed to advocating for Indigenous studies, she is designing future courses that engage with anti-racist theorizing and decoloniality. Some of her proposed courses include Feminist Genealogies: Decolonial and Indigenous Feminisms; Indigenous Women, Art, and Resistance; Images of Indigenous Women from Abya Yala to Turtle Island in Literature, Popular Art, and Film; Andean Women in War: Gender, and Memory in Peru’s Armed Conflict; Film and Literature of the Andes; and Human Rights Histories in 21st Indigenous Latin America.
Moreover, promoting diversity, institutional service, and creating a bridge between academia and the community has been central to her commitment as a scholar. At Rutgers, she participates in future/ongoing initiatives that include mentoring students in the WGSS’s Ma Track in Feminist Practices For Social Change. She has also collaborated with the organization of departmental events and joined Rutgers’ Faculty Learning Community in their efforts to create opportunities for post-traditional students. In addition, she has participated in the as a faculty fellow, coordinated the first at Rutgers, represented WGSS at the SAS Major & Minor Fair (Fall 2023), and served as a committee member for both MA and Ph.D. students.