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Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa - Erotic Resistance and Ethnographic Stripping

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oct 05

Thu, Oct 5 2023, 5PM - 6:30PM

Blattner Hall Multipurpose Room | 75 Arkansas St, San Francisco, California, 94107 View map

Part of event series: Visual & Critical Studies Forum | 2023-2024 Series


Organized by

CCA Graduate Visual & Critical Studies

Event description

Otálvaro-Hormillosa will discuss her upcoming book, Erotic Resistance: The Struggle for the Soul of San Francisco (University of California Press, 2024). Erotic Resistance celebrates the erotic performance cultures that have shaped San Francisco. It preserves the memory of the city’s bohemian past and its essential role in the development of American adult entertainment by highlighting the contributions of women of color, queer women, and trans women who were instrumental in the city's labor history, as well as its LGBT and sex workers' rights movements.

In the 1960s, topless entertainment became legal in the city for the first time in the US, although cross-dressing continued to be criminalized. In the 1990s, stripper-artist-activists led the first successful class action lawsuits and efforts to unionize in US history. Erotic Resistance relates these phenomena through archival materials, artworks, and original interviews with legendary burlesquers and strippers. To share their remarkable stories, Otálvaro-Hormillosa uses diverse methods—visual and performance analysis, historiography, and ethnographic research, including participant-observation as both performer and spectator. At the VCS forum, Otálvaro-Hormillosa will focus on the book’s primary theories and methods and will also share behind the scenes material from her practice-based research that informed the project.

Gigi Otálvaro, Ph.D. is an educator, interdisciplinary performance artist-scholar, writer, and psychogeographer. As Associate Director of Stanford Living Education (formerly Health and Human Performance), she leads the LifeWorks program which offers courses and workshops that integrate scholarship, creative expression, as well as creative and embodied practices to help students connect their academic work with their core values and goals. Her research and pedagogy engage Latina/x and women of color feminisms, queer of color critique, eroticism and performance, mindfulness-based art practice, as well as art and activism. Prior to her current position, she was a Teaching Fellow in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, where she taught research-based writing courses exploring the connections between visual art, performance, embodiment, and mindfulness.

She obtained her doctorate of philosophy in Theater & Performance Studies with a minor in Art History from Stanford University. She holds a M.A. from California College of the Arts in Visual & Critical Studies and a B.A. from Brown University in an independent concentration entitled “Hybridity and Performance.” She is the recipient of the first-ever Stanford Theater & Performance Studies Department Carl Weber Prize for Integration of Creative Practice and Scholarly Research for her doctoral research and dissertation entitled Erotic Resistance: Performance, Art, and Activism, in San Francisco Strip Clubs, 1960s-2010s. Her M.A. thesis, Embodying Spaces: Memory and Resistance in the Aftermath of Argentina’s Dirty War (1976-1983), focused on cultural memory, embodiment, and the politics of space in relation to human rights activism, public art, and memorials in the aftermath of the dictatorship. Her work in performance and video has been presented nationally and internationally.

Her writing has been published in Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture, San Francisco MOMA’s Open Space, Art Practical, Performance Research, Social Justice Journal, and anthologies such as Postcolonial and Queer Theories: Intersections and Essays, Pinay Power: Peminist Critical Theory / Theorizing the Filipina American Experience, and the Routledge Companion to Decolonizing Art History (forthcoming). She has received awards from the Stanford Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and the Stanford Women’s Community Center (the university-wide Graduate Feminist Scholar Award), Core77, Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art, the San Francisco Art Commission, the Potrero Nuevo Fund Prize, and the National Association for Latino Art and Culture, among others. For her complete C.V. and samples of work, visit

Photo Credit: Kari Orvik

Entry details

Free and open to the public