top of page

Palabras del Pueblo
Fall 2023

Insurgent Aztlan and Resistance Writing

with Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Ernesto Todd Mireles, MSW.  Ph.D. is a filmmaker and award-winning author, a three-decade student, community, union, and electoral organizer. Mireles is currently faculty in Northern Arizona University’s Ethnic Studies department. He holds an MSW in organizational and community practice and a PhD in American Studies from Michigan State University. His book Insurgent Aztlan was awarded a 2020 International Latino Book Award in the Best Political/Current Affairs category. Mireles does a weekly podcast called The Reality Dysfunction and has completed his first documentary about Xicana/o/x student organizing titled War of the Flea: Fight for Xicano Studies. He has recently started writing short screenplays and filming them.

Class Description

Join me for an immersive writing workshop where you'll delve into the politically pertinent realm of Resistance Writing. Over the course of these sessions, you'll have the opportunity to enhance your writing skills, gain insights into resistance literature, and explore the profound impact of your words in opposing settler colonialism.


The workshop is designed for writers aiming to refine their craft through a fusion of theory and practice. To kick-start the journey, participants are invited to submit a short piece of writing, ranging from 500 to 1000 words, which will serve as the foundation for collaborative peer reviews and targeted improvement.


As a special treat, each participant will receive a pdf copy of my book "Insurgent AZTLAN" , which will serve as a guide and a source of inspiration throughout the workshop.


Guided by well-defined objectives, the workshop seeks to foster a comprehensive understanding of resistance literature as a genre, highlighting its critical role in challenging and countering settler colonialism. The first session will unravel the essence of Resistance Writing, exploring its distinct characteristics and its profound impact on opposing the colonial narrative. 


Through discussions, peer editing, and presentations we will probe the connections between Resistance Writing and socialist literature, drawing upon concrete examples from "Insurgent AZTLAN" using Fanon's categories of literature as a framework for categorizing narratives in the context of resistance to settler colonialism.


The second session will delve deeper into the analysis of literature for resistance themes. Participants will unravel the power of themes like indigeneity as a potent force of resistance and explore why mestizaje falls short in the same role. Engaging in an insightful peer review process, facilitated by provided tools, will further refine participants' ability to critically assess and contribute to each other's work.


In the heart of the workshop lies the middle session, guided by participants' active involvement. Through lively discussions and guided exploration, we will collectively navigate the "Getting it done" worksheet, honing our understanding of resistance themes.


The third session will empower participants with the skills to not only analyze their own writing but also that of their peers for resistance themes. Engaging in peer-to-peer conversations, participants will provide constructive feedback, highlighting aspects they admire and areas that deserve further attention. We will probe the importance of intentionality in resistance writing, exploring how meaning is constructed through representation. By delving into Xicano resistance literature, such as "Indigenous Quotients/Stalking Words" by Juan Gomez Quinones, and closely examining "Tales from Aztlantis," participants will develop a nuanced understanding of resistance themes.


In the culminating session, participants will master the art of articulating the necessity of resistance writing within community activism, artistry, and organizations. By delving into the concept of brown-centered thinking, participants will unlock new perspectives on writing and resistance. With a focus on community asset mapping, participants will reimagine their communities as vibrant hubs of writing and resistance, weaving together their newfound skills into a rich tapestry of impactful storytelling.


Throughout this enlightening journey, participants will have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with the facilitator, ensuring tailored guidance and insights are provided for individual writing samples.


As we embark on this immersive writing workshop, prepare to be inspired, challenged, and empowered to harness the transformative potential of Resistance Writing. Join us in embracing the power of words and stories to catalyze change, honor heritage, and stand resolute against the forces of settler colonialism. The journey awaits—come and explore the world of Insurgent AZTLAN and Resistance Writing.


Ernesto Todd Mireles, MSW., Ph.D. 

Class Outline

4 - four hour sessions
16 hours total
Submit a short writing to work on during the sessions and for peer review. (500-1000 words)
Participants each get a copy of my book.

1. Identify resistance as a distinct genre.
2. Identify common resistance literature tropes.
3. Edit self and others work for resistance themes.
4. Understanding the concept of brown centered thinking.

Topic: Insurgent Aztlan and Resistance Writing

First Session learning objective: participants will understand what Resistance literature is and it’s role in opposing settler Colonialism.

What is Resistance Writing? What makes a piece of writing Resistance writing.
What is socialist writing?
Examples from the book.
1. Fanon’s categories
How do you categorize your writing in terms of resistance to settler colonialism?
Does it make sense to even claim that narrative
Fast write - respond to your submitted writing: How does this fit within the resistance literature structure?
Give students the Getting it done self review worksheet.

Second session learning objective:
Analyze literature for resistance themes.

2. Virgin Of Guadalupe
3. Mandato de Cuahtemoc - Tales from Aztlantis
4. Indigeneity v. Mestizaje
What are some other themes?
Cabral Return to History Slide
Why is indigeneity a resistance theme?
Why is mestizaje not a resistance theme?

Fast write -
Exchange papers for peer review using tools provided by the facilitator.

Middle Session Learning Objectives: Participants will drive the session with the Talk about the getting it done worksheet.

Third Session Learning Objective: participants will learn how to analyze their own writing and others for resistance themes.

Let’s talk about peer review. 1. Peer to Peer conversations, 2. Report back to group: one you liked and one area they need to work on.
What is the purpose of intentionality in resistance writing?
How do we make meaning? Representation and semiotics in meaning making.
Read some Xicano resistance literature: Indigenous Quotients/Stalking Words JGQ.
Examine Tales from Aztlantis

Fourth Session Learning Objective: participants will learn how to articulate the necessity of resistance writing to community activists artists and organizations.

Set times to meet with each participant after the workshop to do one on one with a writing sample.
Asset mapping to revise our communities as sites of writing and resistance.
What is brown centered thinking?

Insurgent Aztlan - Ernesto Mireles
Stalking Words/Indigenous Quotient - Juan Gomez Quinones

Book Chapters:
Wretched of the Earth, Chapter 4 - Frantz Fanon
Community Asset mapping- reading

The Reality Dysfunction
Tales from Aztlantis

bottom of page