Martha Gonzalez Receives 2022 MacArthur Fellowship

Submitted by Whitney Miller on
Martha Gonzalez plays music with her son Sandino Gonzalez-Flores (left) and her partner and founder of Quetzal, Quetzal Flores (right).

Martha Gonzalez, an alum of the Department of Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies (PhD 2013), has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her multi-modal body of work advancing participatory methods of artistic knowledge production, grounded in feminist praxis, in the service of social justice. Gonzalez is a musician, scholar, Chican@ artivista, cultivator of convivencia, and Associate Professor of Chicanx-Latinx Studies at Scripps College. As one of twenty-five in the 2022 class of MacAruthur Fellows, recognized for their “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits,” Gonzalez will receive a no-strings-attached award over the next five years as an investment in her potential and future projects.

Martha’s book Chican@ Artivistas: Music, Community, and Transborder Tactics in East Los Angeles (2020) was based on her GWSS doctoral dissertation, advised by Professor Michelle Habell-Pallán. While Martha was a graduate student in the department, she won a 2013 Grammy in the Latin rock/urban/alternative category for her work as singer/songwriter and percussionist with the East LA music collective Quetzal. Chicana feminist theorist Emma Pérez’s The Decolonial Imaginary, which Martha read in the GWSS 502 feminist theory graduate core course, served as inspiration for Quetzal’s award-winning album Imaginaries. Martha also won the 2013 UW Dean’s Graduate Medal in the Social Sciences and has been an important member and participant of Womxn Who Rock: Making Scenes, Building Communities and the Seattle Fandango Project

Of her former student’s achievements, Professor Habell-Pallán reflects: 

The vibrancy of our graduate program is animated by the energy of each of our talented PhD students who all contribute their own genius to our program and thus enhance and amplify one another's feminist scholarship within and outside the walls of the academy. Martha, in her humble way, would be the first to say that it was GWSS’s collective spirit of faculty and peer-to-peer mentoring that contributed to her success as a first-generation PhD candidate. We’d say back to Martha that we recognize she’s honed and directed her gifts as a person, a scholar, and a musician always towards the work—her work of community building and connecting people in the name of transformative justice and scholarship and mutual aid. 

While in our PhD program, Martha generously shared the practice of critical convivencia in both the areas of Chicana feminist thought and participatory music community building. For Martha and her partner Quetzal, the Seattle Fandango Project collective was and is a physical, social, political, spiritual, and musical manifestation of convivencia and artivista praxis, practices that bridge usually siloed communities outside and inside the academy—of those, like their song says, “below and to the left.” 

In addition to the MacArthur Foundation video about Martha Gonzalez, learn more about the full range of her artivista scholarship and creative practice through the Womxn Who Rock oral history archive and her personal website: 

Congratulations Martha! You rock, and we can’t wait to see what you do next, as always in convivencia within and across communities.