Mama Academic Liberadora Activista (MALA) MADRE: Towards A New Collective Imagining of M(Other)ing

Victorian Isabel Duran, University of San Francisco


This qualitative study explored the experiences of Black, Indigenous and Brown mamascholars and offers MALA MADRE (Duran, 2019) as a decolonial framework toward healing and transformation of ourselves, our children, and our world, rooted in principles of love and justice. For this study, I define mamascholars as Black, Indigenous, and Brown mamas who are professors, educators, teachers, students (in k-12 and university settings) and for mamas who are redefining what it means to be an intellectual. MALA MADRE as a theoretical framework activates critical consciousness, self-determination, and collective action to resist neoliberalism, hegemony, and all forms of oppression within the context of before and in relation to a global pandemic. This qualitative study unveiled the ways collective mothering became spaces of situating the identity of mamascholars and the identity of mamascholars as an active verb. It is not just a noun or title, it is an active commitment to the liberatory transformation of our world for our children. This study examined in detail the new imaginings of collective mothering and caregiving for children in times of repression and economic depression. Through this multi-layered study the following themes emerged: Cycle Breaking, Collective Mothering, Decolonizing Learning and Schooling, and lastly Claiming Space in Academia. As a result, this study not only expands what collective mothering means in scholarship, it births radical imaginings of justice for our children. This work is urgent and necessary, given that schools have functioned as hegemonic and transactional spaces of dehumanization particularly for children of color (Freire, 1970).