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Episode #43

Embodied Activism in Academia: An Interview with Adrianna Santos

My guest on this episode is Adrianna Santos, passionate advocate for equity for women, immigrants, and marginalized communities. She shares about many mentors and inspirational figures in her life who led her to Latinx and Chicanx studies, processing trauma through performance and embodiment exercises, having babies during dissertation, and coming full circle to teach in her hometown. Yet another example of womxn walking “non-traditional” paths, she is training to become a doula, and is following her desires to learn more about her ancestral history. 



Key points discussed:

  • Adrianna’s childhood as a shy, bookworm only child in a large extended family [4:30]
  • Discovering trauma processing through performance and spoken word [8:30]
  • Inspirational figures and the importance of mentors in coming to Chicanx and Latinx studies [14:00]
  • Attending an institution with the first PhD program in her area of study and getting to help shape that department [18:00]
  • Dissertation writing while doing healing work and having her first baby [23:00]
  • Getting back to creativity in writing when it is often about producing a ‘product’ in academia [26:00]
  • Navigating the job market with a toddler and infant twins [30:00]
  • Study surrounding inequities around birth and becoming a certified doula [40:00]
  • Grief, loss and transition in our society [42:00]
  • “Spiritual activism” and what that means to Adrianna [45:00]


Key Quotes:

  • “I had an amazing team of…’femtors’, feminist mentors.” -Adrianna Santos
  • “You’re proving that you have all this knowledge, then it doesn’t necessarily translate once you leave the academy.” -Adrianna Santos
  • “It was a lot more difficult than I thought it was going to be, but it was a lot more fulfilling than I thought it would be too.” -Adrianna Santos
  • “I feel really lucky, really grateful, to be at a place where I can kind of shape the institution.” -Adrianna Santos
  • “There isn’t a space in society for us to talk about loss…” -Adrianna Santos
  • “I’m really feeling inspired toward transformation and healing.” -Adrianna Santos 

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