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Finding Aid for the Alicia Gaspar de Alba Collection of Maquiladora Murders Research Materials Collection 2005
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Alicia Gaspar de Alba Collection of Maquiladora Murders Research Materials Collection,
    Date (inclusive): 2005
    Collection number: 109
    Creator: Gaspar de Alba, Alicia
    Extent: 4.5 linear foot
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1490
    Abstract: This is a collection of artifacts made by students to honor those women murdered in Juarez, Mexico in what has become known as the Maquiladora Murders. Researchers who would like to indicate errors of fact or omissions in this finding aid can contact the research center at www.chicano.ucla.edu
    Physical location: CSRC Archive Library
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Access is available by appointment for UCLA student and faculty researchers as well as independent researchers.To view the collection or any part of it, please contact the CSRC at http://www.chicano.ucla.edu/

    Publication Rights

    For students and faculty researchers of UCLA, all others by permission only. Copyright has not been assigned to the Chicano Studies Research Center. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Archivist and/or the Librarian at the Chicano Studies Research Center Library. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Alicia Gaspar de Alba Collection of Maquiladora Murders Research Materials Collection, 109, Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles.

    Acquisition Information

    This collection has been deeded to the UCLA CSRC. Deed on file in the Archive office


    Alicia Gaspar de Alba is an award-winning novelist as well as a professor and poet. Gaspar de Alba was born in El Paso, Texas on July 29, 1958. She taught English to Mexican executives and staff members of General Motors' maquiladoras at the Instituto Interlingua in Juarez, Chihuahua from 1978-1980. In 1979, The National Research Council (NRC) in Washington, DC offered her a Ford Foundation fellowship for minorities due to her excellent academic performance. She earned her B.A. in English in 1980 and M.A. in English in 1983 from the University of Texas in El Paso. She enrolled as a PhD student in American Studies at the University of Iowa in 1985 but then quit a year later due to culture shock. Afterward, Gaspar de Alba returned to her doctoral studies in American Studies, this time at the University of New Mexico, where she graduated with distinction. She focused her research on Chicano/a art, pop culture, literature, and writing. For her dissertation, "Mi Casa [No] Es Su Casa: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Art: Resistance and Affirmation Exhibit," she won the Ralph Henry Gabriel American Studies Dissertation Fellowship in 1993, a Ford Foundation Fellowship in 1993, and a Chicana Dissertation Fellowship from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1992. It was named the Best Dissertation in the field of American Studies in 1994. The University of Texas Press published the dissertation as a book, titled Chicano Art Inside/Outside the Master's House: Cultural Politics and the CARA Exhibition, in January 1998.

    Scope and Content

    This is a collection of approximately 3 linear feet of artifacts created and collected by Alicia Gaspar de Alba and Sandra Ruiz
    From UCLA Today: Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, young women from poor villages in the interior of Mexico have flocked to Ciudad Juárez, the city that borders El Paso, Texas, to look for jobs in American-owned maquiladoras or factories. Instead, what hundreds of them have found is a gruesome and early death, said Alicia Gaspar de Alba, associate director of the Chicano Studies Research Center. Since 1993, more than 300 young women and girls have been killed in Ciudad Juárez, across the border from Gaspar de Alba's hometown of El Paso. This 10-year crime wave of deadly violence will be the focus of an international conference, "The Maquiladora Murders, Or, Who is Killing the Women of Juárez?" slated for Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at UCLA. It will coincide with Days of the Dead, a Mexican holiday that honors the dead. "You have to understand that these crimes are more than murders," said Gaspar de Alba, who wrote a mystery novel, "The Factory: A Novel on the Maquiladora Murders." "They are ritual acts of pure and unadulterated hatred and desprecio (scorn) toward the indigenous female body. Who can hate these powerless women so much?" The arrests made so far in some of the deaths have usually turned out to be controversial or erroneous, Gaspar de Alba said. For instance, police allegedly tortured some of the suspects into confessing they were guilty while other suspects have been released, she said. Still, the murders of young women in Juárez have not stopped. In February 2003, four new bodies were discovered, including one of a 5-year-old girl with multiple stab wounds and her eyes removed. Many of the victims remain unidentified. "Beyond exploring the many theories that exist around the question 'Who is killing the women of Juárez?,' the conference will look at the complicity of silence that has protected the killers on both sides of the border," Gaspar de Alba said. Participants will examine the sexism that surrounds the murders. According to Gaspar de Alba, some people, including the authorities, believe: "She asked for it by the way she dressed." Organizers also hope to draw attention to the American companies who employ many women. Many of the victims were killed on their way home from work at night. "The maquiladora industry needs to be made accountable for not protecting its personnel," Gaspar de Alba said.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Alicia Gaspar de Alba
    Hate Crime
    Juarez Mexico
    Maquiladora Murders
    Sandra Ruiz
    The Maquiladora Murders, Or, Who is Killing the Women of Juárez?