Brenda Lara

Brenda Lara

Graduate Student

Cohort 2017-18

Office: 7349 Bunche Hall

Email: bslara@ucla.edu

Biography

Brenda Lara originates from Huntington Park, CA. She was raised by a strong hardworking mother who taught her the value of Feminism (without ever using the word Feminism) her upbringing influenced her to research women of color’s knowledge. After transferring from LMU, Brenda attended UCLA majoring in Philosophy and minoring in Chicana and Chicano Studies. As a Ronald E. McNair Scholar at UCLA she theorized on a phenomenon she coins epistemic unconfidence that establishes that structures of power continuously deny Latinas’ intelligence leading them to believe that they are incapable of producing “legitimate” knowledge. Through the use of Continental Philosophy, Chicana Feminism, and history she hopes to disrupt the notion that Chicanas and Latinas do not produce knowledge.

As a Eugene Cota-Robles Fellow in the Cesar Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies she plans to expand her work on women of color’s knowledge. Future research ideas include applying epistemic unconfidence to Latinas in popular culture and continuing to integrate Continental and Chicana Feminist philosophies.

Research Interests include: Chicana/Latina Feminism, Philosophy of Race, Epistemology, Continental Philosophy, Herstories, Borderlands Theory, Gender and Sexuality Theory

Education

  • BA,  Philosophy, Minor in Chicana and Chicano Studies, UCLA

Research

  • Brenda’s current research project analyzes academic archives to demonstrate that Chicana academics are “haunted” by a repetitive “unsolved violence” caused by patriarchal knowledge in academia. Among her case studies are Chicana scholars that have faced untimely deaths.
  • She has also pursued research in popular and Mexican-American culture including content visual and textual analysis of the Netflix sitcom “One Day at a Time” and La Llorona (Weeping Woman) literature and oral histories.
  • As a Ronald E. McNair scholar, she theorized on a phenomenon she coins epistemic unconfidence. It establishes that structures of power continuously deny Latinas’ intelligence leading them to believe that they are incapable of producing “legitimate” knowledge. She utilized German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s philosophy to analyze Indigenous slave princess Malintzin Tenepal as her primary case study.

Selected Publications

  • Lara, Brenda Selena. “Psuedo Humans, Animals, and Machines: Descartes View of the Automaton” in AustLit (www.austlit.edu.au), St Lucia: The University of Queensland (2017).
  • Lara, Brenda Selena. “Affirmative Action in an Ideal Society” in Meditations: The UCLA Undergraduate Philosophy Journal 4 (Spring 2016).

Honors & Awards

  • Center for the Advancement of Teaching Summer Sessions Fellowship (2020)
  • Graduate Research Mentorship Program (2019)
  • Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Program (2019)
  • Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship (2017-Present)

Courses

  • Brenda has been a teaching assistant for:
    • Chicana/o Studies 10A: History and Culture
    • Chicana/o Studies 10B: Contemporary Issues and Social Structures
    • Chicana/o Studies 101: Theoretical Concepts & Honors Seminar
  • She has also been a peer learning facilitator for:
    • English Composition 100W: Drugs and History
    • Honors Collegium 101A: Research Methods