What results is a complex web of prophecy and myth, merged with history through images of chaos and reconciliation, and the resulting bigenderization of the texts, all inextricably linked with and authorized by the rhetoric of prophecy. The theory of the subject of consciousness as a unitary synthesizing agent of knowledge is always already a posture of domination. Thus, the relationship between chaos and vision describes the locus of the paradox for these oppressed groups, mothers and mestizas. Yet, it also provides the impetus for their transcendence. In the dark recesses of these particular feminist discourses, in the conflict between the personal and the political, the chronological and the psychological, prophecies emerge distilled from the melancholy residuals of the past. They emerge as hope resting on the other shore.
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Throughout the duration of this course, we have explored many streams of feminist theory, some more historical pieces, and others more contemporary. Gloria Anzaldua, in particular, is among the many feminist theorists that move into the realm o f addressing post-modern identities. In her articulation of a new emerging consciousness in La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness, Anzaldua posits the construction of identities as multiple, hybrid, and more specifically created as a result of the Borderlands.
It is a consciousness of the Borderlands. To begin to tease out the ideas inherent in this quote from Anzaldua, a description of the Borderlands is essential. The Borderland is not completely physical, and not completely abstract. It is any space where multiple identities, histories, and cultures overlap. Moreover, the Borderlands are any space where those in the lower, middle, and upper classes approximate each other, where people of different races live together socially, and where cultures merge.
Often torn between incompatible cultures, la mestiza struggles to distinguish which collectivity that she belongs to. Torn somewhere in the mix between two or more histories, cultures, sets of values, and ways of being in the world, at different moments in time, la mestiza is forced to choose between them but is never quite a part of either; she is outside of culture.
This choice not only renders other parts of her identity and culture invisible, it positions her in one box, one category defined by the dominant culture into a dualistic Western way of thinking; either as oppressed or oppressor, on the offense or defense. As a result of her gender, la mestiza is placed in opposition to masculinit. As a result of her sexual identity, she is placed in opposition to her racial identity.
Moreover, her indigenous identity places her in contradiction to her Spanish identity. For Anzaldua, the new consciousness arising out of this struggle over borders creates a non-dualistic way of thinking and being. Both Anzaldua and Haraway argue for a cricual recognition among feminists of those instances and spaces where the boundaries embedded in binaries, established by dominant Western myth, are transgressed and breached.
Anzaldua, As was previously mentioned, the Borderland is a space where cultures collide, often with incompatible values, opposing histories, and contradictory experiences. It can be difficult to be an individual, or member, of several social, classed, gendered, racialized groups but never feeling quite at home in either. An example of the contradictions of which she speaks is through a brief discussion of the identities of women of colour.
The inverse question can also be asked. If an African-American woman of colour takes a political stance for the end of her racial oppression, does this mean that she devalues her experience as being oppressed by her gender identity? Anzaldua makes a plea to feminists to bridge identities and to understand identities as always being constituted in the Borderlands.
The sorting out the contradictions embedded between these social identities requires a tolerance for ambiguity Anzaldua, Moreover, Anzaldua proposes that we all live in the Borderlands; the space between being inside or outside of culture. Butler would perhaps use the language of not having to choose between being intelligible or unintelligible, as either being on the outside or inside of culture. It is inclusive insofar as it understands identity as being beyond dualisms and Western binary constructs.
We all live in the Borderlands and instead of responding to the collision of culture by taking a stance on either side of the border, rendering us part of these Western constructs, we can include and embrace our identities as contradictory, different, and ambiguous. This supercedes the need to identify either as oppressed or take on the position of the oppressor.
Like Haraway, Anzaldua goes against the current trajectory of feminism s and her aim is to redirect feminism. Moreover, Anzaldua makes a plea for the recognition of the post-modern human. These feminist, post-modernist and post-structuralist theories are all working toward redirecting feminism to make it more inclusive.
They are inclusive in that they pinpoint or try to make visible a new consciousness that is freed from the power and value systems embedded in Western myths and constructs. Anzaldua also takes up masculinity as a fragmented identity and recognizes that new masculinities emerge out of the transmission of cultures in the Borderlands. Masculinity is often essentially equated with men and Anzaldua disagrees due to the fact that it essentializes all men and pits them in juxtaposition to women.
Anzaldua also emphasizes the need for all racialized cultures to acknowledge and respect those who identify as queer as there is queer in all cultures Anzaldua, Moreover, like Butler and Haraway , she is blatantly against the idea of an inner essence or an inner core identity and argues for a divergent way of thinking about identity as being constituted in a plurality of experiences, histories, and cultures.
Identities, or people rather, learn to live in all cultures and in the Borderlands by not having to choose between cultures. Her argument is such that the only way to revolutionize and create social change is if the individual and collective consciousness actively breaks down and uproots dualistic thinking Anzaldua, As opposed to either being inside of oppressive culture or on the constitutive outside, Anzaldua understands identity as being completely immersed in the Borderlands, the space where cultures not only merge and collide but also where difference, diversity, and contradiction is celebrated.
The consciousness of the Borderlands neither knows or upholds boundaries. Ultimately, it is in a constant state of ambiguity, and this ambiguity must be tolerated. Even though Anzaldua writes from a different place than other theorists like Haraway and Butler, it seems as though she influences and is influenced by their post-modern writings of identity. This realm of feminist theory attempts to not only move feminism forward, but to redirect it in a more inclusive direction by addressing difference and drawing attention to the ways in which identities have shifted in the late twentieth century.
Within this sphere of feminist thought, it is crucial for feminism s to embrace the contradictory identities and cultures that emerge from the Borderlands which are made visible only through seeing passed the dominant Western myths and constructs put in place by the pervasiveness of modernity. Only then can we see a way out of oppression through social revolution. It has to occur between people and individual frames of consciousness; having a consciousness of the Borderlands.
Anzaldua, G. Bartowski Eds. Butler, J. Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. Haraway, D. London: Routledge pp. Posted in Uncategorized. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.
Notify me of new posts via email. This entry was posted on August 15, at pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2. You can leave a response , or trackback from your own site. Create a free website or blog at WordPress. Discourse, utterance, and madness Just another WordPress. References Anzaldua, G. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:.
La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Toward a New Consciousness
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