In The Force of Witness Rosa-Linda Fregoso examines the contra feminicide movement in Mexico and other feminist efforts to eradicate gender violence. Drawing on interviews, art, documentaries, and her years of activism, Fregoso traces the micro and macro scales of misogyny and the patterns of state complicity with gender violence. She shows how different forms of witnessing—from activist-mothers’ bearing witness to the memories of their daughters and expert witnesses in court cases to communal witnessing and a scholar-activist-citizen witnessing her own actions—are key to resisting feminicidal violence. Fregoso situates these forms of witness in the histories, contexts, structures, bodies, and intersectional struggles they emerge from. By outlining the complexities of feminicidal violence in relation to witnessing processes, Fregoso challenges the notion of witness as an individual or autonomous subject inscribed solely in the legal or religious arenas. Rather, she theorizes witness as a force of collectivity and a constellation of multiple social locations and intersectional practices that work together to abolish feminicidal violence.
What People Are Saying
“In this beautifully written and personal account, Rosa-Linda Fregoso succeeds in divesting the feminicides in Ciudad Juarez and elsewhere in the region of their individualizing spectacularity. The Force of Witness shows us how these violences intimately shape the lives of survivors, as they also reflect the heteropatriarchal dimensions of persisting structures of racial capitalism.” Angela Y. Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
“In this book Rosa-Linda Fregoso expresses the devastating experiences of suffering with a highly ethical and respectful approach. The resistance of women who have been wounded by feminicide is a lesson in love for life, since witnessing in The Force of the Witness is crucial in proving the atrocities of feminicide so that they are not forgotten. The Force of Witness thus restores the humanist sense that society has lost.” Patricia Ravelo, Researcher and Professor, Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS)
About the Author
Rosa-Linda Fregoso is Professor Emerita of Latin America and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, coeditor of Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Américas, also published by Duke University Press, and author of meXicana Encounters: The Making of Social Identities on the Borderlands.
Table of Contents
1. Chronicles of Witness 13
Interlude 1: Re-Memory for the Dead 58
2. Mexico’s Longest War 63
3. The Artist and Witness 96
Interlude 2: Redressing Injustice 115
4. The Art of Witness 119
5. Witnesses to Mexico’s “Living Dead” 138
Interlude 3: Flor de Arena 159
6. Stolen Lives and Fugitivity 163