Activism, and Scholarship

Association for Jotería Arts,

AJAAS is the new name for a national collective of artists, activists, and scholars who have been actively collaborating on projects since 2005. The timeline below provides a snapshot of some key events in our history, particularly as our origins are intertwined with several evolving discussions within the National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies (NACCS)

At the NACCS Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a panel on the history of the NACCS Lesbian Caucus is declared a “women-only” space by its organizer, and members of the Joto Caucus are asked to leave before the panel starts. Women on the panel and in the audience are not in agreement about declaring this space “women-only.” Nonetheless, the men are asked to leave by the organizer.

In response to the incident the year before, the Joto Caucus hosts a daylong workshop at UCLA, entitled “Difficult Dialogues.” The goal of the workshop is to build a foundation with members of the Lesbian Caucus for future collaborations.

Members of the Lesbian Caucus push back against what they perceive to be its narrow identity politics. After a contentious meeting and discussion is brought to a vote, the Lesbian Caucus is renamed the Lesbian, BiMujeres, and Transgender (LBMT) Caucus.

The Joto Caucus—in conjunction with activists, students, and one faculty member in Las Vegas—hosts a historic conference: “Towards a Queer Homeland: Bridging Communities and Resisting Hate.” This conference marks a turning point: shifting away from important women-only and men-only queer spaces created at NACCS that were no longer meeting the needs and collaborative aspirations of some of its members.

The Joto Caucus celebrates its fifteenth anniversary by organizing a Quinceañera, in conjunction with ALLGO, at the Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin, Texas. The program includes poetry by Daniel Enrique Pérez, a ceremony to honor our “madrinas” and “padrinos,” and a performance by Tragic Bitches. As part of the ceremony, the Joto Caucus pays homage to the LBMT Caucus, Chicana/Latina feminists, and the jotos, jotas and allies that came before them and paved the way. This was an intentional ceremony to honor the past and encourage future collaborations. As the quinceañera program states, “we have instituted a new trajectory to move beyond previous goals, boundaries, and notions of identity.”

The Joto Caucus, in conjunction with members of the Lesbian, BiMujeres, and Trans (LGBT) Caucus, hosts a second conference at California State University, Los Angeles: “Sacred Space Making: Mapping Queer Scholarship, Activism, and Performance.”

The third conference, held at the University of Oregon, was the first to be intentionally co-sponsored by both the Joto Caucus and the LBMT Caucus. It was also the first conference that highlighted the inclusion of mixed-race people and transgender members of our communities in participation and programming. It was titled “Un Re-encuentro con mi otr@ yo: Legacies of Survival, Healing, Learning, and Resistance.”

Members of the Joto Caucus and LBMT caucus meet in Berkeley, California for two days and establish the new Association for Jotería Arts, Activism, and Scholarship (AJAAS).

A series of working meetings are held at UNLV and UCLA in an effort to engage new people who represent different facets of our community.

The first AJAAS conference—“We Speak for Ourselves: Decolonizing Nuestr@s Conciencias, Cuerpos, La Tierra y el Alma”—is held at the University of New Mexico.

Our Historia

Our Historia