A Borderland Consciousness: Una conciencia de mujer in Borderlands/La frontera

Ana Cruz García,

University College Cork

‘Borders’, ‘borderlands’ and ‘frameworks’ are concepts typically employed to define Chicano identity in the Southwest of the United States. In this regard, border theorists David Johnson and Scott Michaelsen attest that Chicano culture has given a distinctive cultural feature to the American West and Southwest. Indeed, as both critics put it, “the borderlands belong to Chicano culture, to Chicano cultural and self-expression­­. It is a right of property” (Johnson and Michaelsen 16). None better than the Chicana critic and writer Gloria Anzaldúa has celebrated this right of ownership, foregrounding the uniqueness of this 2000-mile long piece of land that separates Mexico from the U.S. In the face of other communities’ settlement in American territory, such as the Jewish-American or the African-American amongst others, the Chicano diaspora is one of reclaiming a land that was always theirs.

Indeed, Chicanos are no strangers to this location since it once belonged to their ancestors and was brutally usurped from them by the Anglo invader after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.[1]In her theory book on the border, Borderlands/La frontera (1987), Anzaldúa returns to this historical past to account for the violence and injustice of this territorial, economic and political appropriation that has tainted the hybridity that today constitutes this interstitial location. Moreover, Anzaldúa goes further back in time to the pre-Columbian Amerindian period and claims her indigenous heritage as an invaluable part of her Chicana identity. Thus, she positions herself at the crossroads of three traditions, Spanish-American, Nahuatl, and Anglo-American or, as she eloquently puts it in the closing lines of Borderlands: “this land was Mexican once, was Indian always and is. And will be again” (Anzaldúa 1986:25). This speaking the present by understanding the past has subsequently been taken on board by cultural study critics, such as Walter Mignolo who in his celebrated study, The Darker Side of the Renaissance, examines the role of language in the colonization of the New World by weaving together literature, semiotics, history, historiography, cartography, geography, and cultural theory. Mignolo studies how during the Renaissance period alphabetic writing was linked with the exercise of power, and analyses the many connections between writing, social organization, and political control. Furthermore and in similar line to Anzaldúa, he affirms that the construction of territoriality that initiated with the colonization of the New World is not a thing of the past: “colonization is not behind us but has acquired a new form in a transnational world” (Mignolo 1). Here, he briefly looks at Anzaldúa’s text to examine her significant contribution to postcolonial studies with her understanding of the border as an in-between personal location from where to think the past and the present rather than a hybrid space to talk about:

Anzaldúa constructs a transdisciplinary space for thinking about colonization from a personal inscription (linguistic and personal) in colonial legacies rather than writing about colonization from the rules of a disciplinary game. (preface)

Taking cue with Mignolo’s discourse on linguistic and territorial colonization, this article firstly examines this personal thinking space about colonization that Anzaldúa describes in Borderlands. Like Mignolo, the Chicana writer understands the present hybridity of the borderlands in terms of its imperial origins and she goes back to the Aztec-Mexica culture and the Spanish conquest in order to examine the colonization of language and space that has characterised the American Southwest. However, Borderlands more clearly hints at another colonization that has been painstakingly eclipsed from cultural studies such as Mignolo’s. It is, of course, that of gender, as Anzaldúa eloquently sums it up at the end of her study: “the struggle of the mestiza is above all a feminist one” (106).[2]Beneath discussions on cultural, postcolonial and border studies, questions of gender lie quietly put to one side; for instance, in The Darker Side of the Renaissance, Mignolo celebrates Anzaldúa’s study on the border for articulating a powerful alternative aesthetic and political hermeneutics and, as he puts it, “carving a locus of enunciation where different ways of knowing and of individual and collective expression meet” (Mignolo 13). Similarly, in Johnson and Michaelsen’s Border Studies, Anzaldúa’s Borderlands is quoted at length to account for the editors’ urgent need to expand the scope of border studies and explore the multiple possibilities of this interstitial space as well as its limitations.[3] Nevertheless, both studies are notable for their evasiveness with regard to the question of gender and a straight glance to the table of contents is sufficient to see that ‘the woman’s question’ is simply not there, or merely as a reference and, therefore, the female border subject is unaccounted for.[4]

If Anzaldúa’s feminist discourse in Borderlands has been eclipsed in postcolonial and border studies, the Third-World feminism that she irrevocably practices in other works has not compensated for this lack; its visibility in an international arena remains ambivalent at best. In this regard, the collection This Bridge Called my Back, edited by Anzaldúa and Moraga in 1983 has gained international status for its expansion of the feminism advocated by white women in the U.S. to include facets, such as race, class and ethnicity to the understanding of gender. In the preface, Anzaldúa stresses this idea of inclusion and solidarity amongst women of colour in the U.S. and strongly advocates the need to create a united Third World Feminism and to reject the type of intolerance and racism exercised by white feminists:

We want to express to all women – especially to white middle-class women – the experiences which divide us as feminists; we want to examine incidents of intolerance, prejudice and denial of differences within the feminist movement. We intend to explore the courses and sources of, and solutions to these divisions. We want to create a definition that expands what “feminist” means to us (Anzaldùa/Moraga 1).

The alliance of voices from marginalised women that this passage signals, along with the celebration of differences that permeates throughout the collection have made of This Bridge a safe home for women of colour and it has become compulsory reading in the area of postcolonialism and feminism. However, critics such as Norma Alarcón have shown reservations to the supposed international scope of the collection and she angrily defines this visibility as “cosmetic, just a nod toward diversity,” one that irrevocably ignores the specific politics of location in which it is rooted and is then devoid of cultural context (qtd. in Anzaldùa/Keating 7).[5] Thus, the second part of this article, on the one hand, aims to examine the feminist architecture that evolves in Borderlands and that occupies the centre/periphery of her border and postcolonial discourse. On the other hand, it aims to understand her feminism in the historical context in which it is produced and therefore, to expand on traditional notions of feminism that have excluded women of colour, namely Second-Wave feminism.

Living the Present, Understanding the Past: the Reality of Borderlands

Anzaldúa starts her theories on the border by pointing out the ‘unnatural’ and transitional character of boundaries which are strategically positioned to separate, as she puts it, ‘us’ from ‘them’. Thus, borders are not restricted to territoriality but rather they respond to a discourse of, what Anzaldúa sees as, Western imperialism, which in the Spanish-American context already originated with the colonization of the New World. Borderlands represents, therefore, a constant reminder of the impossibility to separate the celebrated hybridity that today constitutes the border and its subjects from its imperial origins as it is this imperial attitude that still remains in today’s reality despite its numerous disguises. Anzaldúa eloquently writes it with the following example: “An Indian mask in an American museum is transposed into an alien aesthetic system where what is missing is the presence of power invoked through performance ritual. It has become a conquered thing, a dead ‘thing’ separated from nature and, therefore, its power” (90). This colonization of the Amerindian space and time by the Western world also occupies the centre of discussion in Mignolo’s analysis of the linguistic and cultural appropriation in the New World. He persuasively examines the colonization of oral traditions and spoken languages by the written world, imposed by a system which saw in the lettered word a symbol of progress and intellect and in the spoken word a synonym of backwardness that needed to be eliminated:

The colonization of space and the colonization of languages mean that dominant views of languages, of recording the past, and of charting territories become synonymous with the real by obstructing possible alternatives (5).

This colonization of languages with a view to eliminate ‘possible alternatives’ echoes in Anzaldúa’s examination of the border and its subjects where she closely links ethnic to linguistic identity; “I am my language”. In today’s reality, she describes this linguistic colonization with the imposition into border subjects of a dominant language, be it Spanish or English:

Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate (81).

In the face of these limitations and after having unveiled the Western imperialism inherent in the conquest of the New World and, more recently, the violent appropriation of Mexican territory by the Anglo colonizer after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Anzaldúa moves forward to offer a new location from where to think colonialism. It is that knowing space that Mignolo claims for those individuals located in an in between space and where the universal Western rationality clashes with cultural relativism:

When the scholar-scientist (and writer) as observer is placed in a space in between, the space in which the universality of Western reason encounters different rationalities, cultural relativism becomes transformed: from relative conceptual frameworks that could be compared and analyzed, to hybrid conceptual frameworks from which new ways of knowing emerge (33).

Anzaldúa conceptualises this hybrid way of thinking in what she coins as the ‘new mestiza consciousness,’ a state of body and mind that empowers the border (female) subject for it includes all the cultures, races and languages that have constituted the Chicana identity, even those that seem contradictory, as Anzaldúa puts it: “the work of mestiza consciousness is to break down the subject-object duality that keeps her a prisoner and to show in the flesh and through the images in her work how duality is transcended” (102). Thus, it constitutes a new type of consciousness that breaks with the promise of security offered by the Western prescription that a proposition must be either true or false, that it cannot be both simultaneously, or that once it holds one value it cannot carry the other. Here it is worth noting that the premise of the challenge is not that identity and non-contradiction are not useful but that they are too narrow to account for the diversity of human life experience at the border. This heterogeneity implies an interrogation of identity as unidirectional and stable and it rather celebrates the inclusion of new meanings or, as Anzaldúa puts it, an amasamiento: “Soy un amasamiento, I am an act of kneading, of uniting and joining that not only has produced both a creature of darkness and a creature of light, but also a creature that questions the definitions of light and dark and gives them new meanings” (103). This process of uniting also points to a linguistic amasamiento in which all the voices that form the Chicana identity are celebrated equally: “I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue – my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence” (81). It is finally this debunking of identity politics as unilateral and fixed that, as Anzaldúa puts it, ultimately signifies a sense of hope for the future of border subjects: “A massive uprooting of dualistic thinking in the individual and collective consciousness is the beginning of a long struggle, but one that could, in our best hopes, bring us to the end of rape, of violence, of war” (102).

Thus far, her analysis of the border could be read as one of empowerment for its members, and yet she is neither naïve nor reductive in its treatment but she also examines the context the power and domination in the modern world and its implications for the sexual and social situation of Chicanas today. Mignolo also points out the inescapable ambivalence reigning modernity these days:

Modern environments and experiences cut across all boundaries of geography and ethnicity, of class and nationality, of religion and ideology: in this sense, modernity can be said to unite all mankind. But it is a paradoxical unity, a unity of disunity. It pours us all into a maelstrom of perpetual disintegration and renewal, of struggle and contradiction, of ambiguity and anguish (316).

In Borderlands, Anzaldúa addresses this disunity and anguish when she claims the multiple identity of the border subject as one of empowerment and celebration and yet it also signals a positioning that comes at a price as it also accounts for an unstable and unsafe place for the ‘New Mestiza.’ As Anzaldúa puts it: “tension grips the inhabitants of the borderlands like a virus. Ambivalence and unrest reside there and death is no stranger” (26). This ambivalence is conceptualised in the figure of the ‘Shadow-Beast’: a self who represents the mestiza’s antisocial yet rebellious character. On the one hand, she is the one who refuses to follow orders that contradict her desires and here lies the power of her disruption but, on the other, she embodies the chaotic, the savage, the irrational and anything that does not accommodate to the ruling system and is then discarded as ‘abnormal.’[6] Furthermore, the border and its inhabitants have a specific physical and historical positioning that Anzaldúa continually presents as dangerous and violent. The opening poem ”El otro México” that initiates the section “The Homeland, Aztlán” materializes the aggressive and inhospitable reality of the border between Mexico and the U.S., a reality portrayed as a barbwire fence that literally “splits me splits me me raja me raja” (24). Similarly, its victims are also real people, maquiladoras amongst others, who are the social victims of a particular historical moment which is witnessing the devaluation of the peso and Mexico’s dependency on the U.S. economy.[7] It is precisely to this real victim, the border female subject, to which the following section turns in order to understand the feminist architecture with which Anzaldúa builds her border discourse, as she herself puts it: “a new mestiza consciousness, una conciencia de mujer. It is a consciousness of the Borderlands” (99).

A Consciousness of the Borderlands: Una conciencia de mujer

As has been widely documented, Second-Wave feminism was mainly understood by reference to the struggle for equality in the work-place, economic autonomy, reproductive rights and the right to work outside the home. Thus, early feminist explorations took the form of consciousness-raising in which great priority was placed on the personal experience as the starting point for change. It is from this core belief, of course, that the phrase, ‘the personal is political’ stemmed.[8] However, this type of feminism soon needed to respond to various sources of dissension, notably the voices and writings of black feminists and women of colour as they proclaimed their exclusion from the terms of predominantly white, middle-class feminist theory with its emphasis on gender at the expense of class and race issues (cf. Orr 29-46). In this context, This Bridge Called my Back constituted a departure from Second-Wave feminism as it reunited in a collection some of the voices, so far unheard, of women of colour. Furthermore, Second-Wave feminist politics assumed the presence of a stable subject, a positioning which also shackled with the rising of postmodernism which allegedly disallowed truth claims, decentred the subject, and as such destroyed the capacity for agency so necessary to feminist politics. In the context of postmodernism, with its perception of the subject as fluid and always in the process of becoming and identity as constructed through social relations in particular circumstances and times, what it means to be a woman or a man is seen to be context dependent, relational, complex and variable. In this sense, Chicanas, understood as beings who cannot claim racial or cultural purity due to their intermixing of Spaniards, Indians and Africans, could be understood as prototypical postmodern subjects. Indeed, in the influential essay by Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s,” the author defines the Chicanas as exemplary cyborgs as they are beings who transcend, confuse and destroy boundaries (qtd. in Moya 216). In this way, when Anzaldúa introduces the Chicano borderland, she describes this border space and its inhabitants precisely as ‘crossing over’ bridges and ‘passing over’ the concept of normality; they are postmodern subjects always in the process of becoming:

Los atravesados live here: the squint-eyed, the perverse, the queer, the troublesome, the mongrel, the mulato, the half-breed, the half dead; in short, those who cross over, pass over, or go through the confines of the “normal” (25).

Furthermore, when she was asked in an interview about her philosophy, her answer encapsulates a philosophy of mestizaje, an intermixing of sorts that resists a unique definition:

How could you describe your own philosophy then? / I would describe it the way I describe my spirituality. My spiritual reality I call spiritual mestizaje, so I think my philosophy is like philosophical mestizaje where I take from all different cultures – for instance, from the cultures of Latin America, the people of color, and also the Europeans (Rosa Izas 15-6).

However, postmodernism and feminism are not so easily reconciled in practice as they are in theory and while holding a great deal of sympathy for arguments about the provisional and positional construction of identity that postmodernism advocates, feminists also fear the political implications of losing the identity of ‘woman’. In this respect, Linda Alcoff voices her hesitations:

What can we demand in the name of women if ‘women’ do not exist and demands in their name simply reinforce the myth that they do? How can we speak out against sexism as detrimental to the interests of women if the category is a fiction? Can we demand legal abortions, adequate childcare, or wages based on comparative worth without invoking a concept of ‘woman?’ (qtd. in McDowell and Sharp 8).

Thus, it seems that as knowledge has been liberated with the acceptance upheld by postmodernism that there is no unity or centre to discover for women, politics seem to be shackled. In this respect, it would be worth asking ourselves why this instability of signification would have to arrive precisely at a time when women’s rights have finally been recognised in numerous countries and their positioning in society indicates some kind of global unity. Surely, as Gibson-Graham notes, all deconstruction is done from a specific theoretical and political entry point and then knowledge and its production can only be understood as an always already political process (cf.134).

It is precisely this political angle that has largely characterised Chicana writers and has set them apart from postmodern feminists, such as Donna Haraway. In a fascinating essay on postmodernism, identity politics and Chicana feminism, Paula Moya takes issue with Haraway’s figuration of Chicanas because, as Moya puts it, “Haraway uncritically affirms a positionality (the margin) and a mode of existence (survival) that real live Chicanas have found to be rather less (instead of more) affirming” (Moya 130). It is Haraway’s understanding of (female) identity as independent of social relations that proves itself problematic to account for the reality of Chicanas today. Interestingly, Moya discards a postmodernist vision of feminism in favour of, what she terms, ‘realism’, a political consciousness largely employed by Chicana feminists:

Only by acknowledging the specificity and ‘simultaneity of oppression’, and the fact that some people are more oppressed than others, can we begin to understand the systems and structures that perpetuate oppression in order to place ourselves in a position to contest and change them (135).

This realistic, political and historical approach that Moya adopts to explain Chicana feminism, notably the work of Cherríe Moraga, is precisely what Anzaldúa has advocated throughout her work. The remaining sections of this article aim at exploring her feminist philosophy in Borderlands with a view to expose how it exhibits a border perspective that leads primarily to feminist and political liberation.

At the core of her feminist dialectics, Anzaldúa signals an utter celebration of the Indian culture and mythology, namely of indigenous figures, mythical or historical, such as Malintzin or Malinche, la Llorona and la Virgen de Guadalupe, thus reclaiming a space in history for the indigenous feminine presence. The male-dominated Azteca-Mexica culture drove these powerful deities underground by giving them monstrous attributes and by substituting male deities in their place. In this way, for instance, the historical figure of la Malinche illustrates this aberration of the female. Lover of the conqueror Hernán Cortés, she functioned as a translator between the Spanish and the Aztecs during the Conquest and for subsequent centuries was accused of betraying her people, of having sold them to the invaders. Anzaldúa rescues this historical figure and rather puts the blame for the decline of the Aztec nation on the ruling class: “the Aztec nation fell not because Malinali (la Chingada) interpreted for and slept with Cortés, but because the ruling elite had subverted the solidarity between men and women and between noble and commoner” (56). However, this celebration of the indigenous has been viciously attacked for its reliance on romantic visions. Johnson and Michaelsen maintain that Anzaldúa employs the indigenous as a ‘universal translator’ who can offer the fragmented individual a sense of absolute completeness and falls, therefore, in a mythical and nostalgic vision: “Anzaldúa’s resorting to ‘indigenousness’ in order to account for such feelings [completeness and totality] is both a grasping at mythic-nostalgic straws and, on another level, little more than liberal-humanist politics” (Johnson and Michaelsen 15). However, to accept this criticism at face value implies to silence and ignore the fundamental linkage that Anzaldúa establishes between this indigenous heritage and the role of women of colour today. In a fascinating essay on the historical and mythical reappropriation of the figure of Malintzin, Alarcon contests that some twentieth-century women and men of letters have felt compelled to revise and vindicate this historical figure. As she was illiterate, she could leave no real sense of herself and of her experience. Thus, interpretations of this figure refer to the words of the chroniclers who themselves were not free of self-interest, motive, and intention (Alarcon 1994:116). Modern Chicana writers have equally reappropriated the history of the Malintzin. Perceived as a woman who has betrayed the group’s interests and values so as to speak and translate in her own behalf, Malintzin has become an ideal for Chicanas to vindicate. This association between Malintzin and Chicanas already initiated, as Alarcon notes, during the Chicano movement (1965-75) when Chicanas were precisely labelled as malinches or vendidas for their assumption of an individualized nonmaternal voice (cf. Alarcon 1994:118). In many ways, Anzaldúa’s choice to portray female indigenous figures, such as Malintzin, La Llorona or la Virgen de Guadalupe, as agents, choice makers, and producers of history does not represent a nostalgic and mythical reappropriation. Anzaldúa is not so much reconstructing Malintzin’s own historical moment, as Johnson and Michaelsen seem to understand it, but she is using both to counter contemporary masculine discourse and to project a newer sense of a female self, a speaking subject, a Chicana identity, with a modern view of historical consciousness:

My Chicana identity is grounded in the Indian woman’s history of resistance. The Aztec female rites of mourning were rites of defiance protesting the cultural changes which disrupted the equality and balance between female and male, and protesting their demotion to a lesser status, their denigration. Like la Llorona, the Indian women’s only means of protest was wailing (43).

This modern view and sense of protest and resistance is filtered in Borderlands through Anzaldúa’s recovery of two modern marginalised feminine voices, those of the maquiladora and la mujer indocumentada, both victims of a patriarchal order that condemns them to a life of subservience and deprivation. With regard to the first, Anzaldúa says:

The Mexican government and wealthy growers are in partnership with such American conglomerates as American Motors, IT&T and Du Pont which own factories called maquiladoras. One-fourth of all Mexicans work at maquiladoras; most are young women. Next to oil, maquiladoras are Mexico’s second greatest source of U.S. dollars (32).

And with respect to the mujer indocumentada, Anzaldúa continues:

La mojada, la mujer indocumentada, is doubly threatened in this country. Not only does she have to contend with sexual violence, but like all women, she is prey to a sense of physical helplessness. As a refugee, she leaves the familiar and safe homeground to venture into unknown and possibly dangerous terrain. This is her home this thin edge of barbwire (35).

Both la maquiladora and la mujer indocumentada represent, in many ways, the darkest side of the border, a hybrid cultural space that keeps victimising women. Here, it is interesting to note that Anzaldúa does not put the blame entirely on the Anglo but also on her own Mexican culture that has victimised women and continues to do so: “though I’ll defend my race and culture when they are attacked by non-mexicanos, conozco el malestar de mi cultura. I abhor some of my culture’s ways, how it cripples its women, como burras, our strengths used against us, lowly burras bearing humility with dignity” (43).

In conclusion, once the indigenous woman and the modern Chicana’s silenced voices are heard, Anzaldúa then claims a mestiza consciousness that exhibits a border thinking and a new way of knowing, as Mignolo says, and yet it is a consciousness that, above all, is feminist: ”if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture – una cultura mestiza – with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and my own feminist architecture […]” (44). This new conciencia will develop a tolerance for contradictions and a pluralistic self in which the new mestiza is able to juggle the Indian, Mexican and Anglo cultures that form her being. However, this celebration of plurality goes hand in hand with insecurity and anxiety for the female who has been taught to behave as a passive listener. Thus, the possibilities for the female border subject are numerous, but only once political consciousness has been raised and, as Anzaldúa says, “we decide to act and not react” (101).

Endnotes

[1] The treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo put an end to the Mexican-American war in 1948. On the other hand, however, it created a division line that would separate Mexicans from their places of origin and the land now belonged to the Anglo invader who had more monetary resources to bid higher (Meier 1993:27-56 and the web page, <http://loc.gov/rr/hispanic/ghtreaty/> [last accessed 3 September 2007]).

[2]Recent studies illustrating this trend include Alberto Moreiras, The Exhaustion of Difference: the Politics of Latin American Cultural Studies (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001) and John Beverley, Subalternity and Representation: Arguments in Cultural Theory (Durham: Duke University Press, 2001).

[3] The study Literature and Ethnicity in the Cultural Borderlands edited by Benito and Manzanas is another example. Anzaldúa is heavily quoted in the introduction with a view to underscore the encompassing scope of this interstitial space that ranges ‘notions of sex, class, gender, ethnicity, identity and community’ (3). Yet, aside from its referential presence in the introduction, questions of gender or feminism are virtually inexistent throughout the collection.

[4] Even though one of the eight essays does deal with gender, ”Run through the Borders: Feminism, Postmodernism, and Runaway Subjectivity” by Elaine K. Chang, the woman question is once more understood in isolated terms from race and class and it primarily centres on white women writing.

[5] In this sense, Anzaldúa is cautious to celebrate the potential of Third World Feminism and in the 1983 second edition of This Bridge, she expressed her discouragement at the dream of a unified Third World Feminism as three years later, no projects had followed the task initiated by This Bridge and the alliance of women of colour out of political necessity had raised differences amongst the various groups that could not be easily reconciled. Indeed, discrepancies between different groups of women of colour became in real life more a reason for separation than reconciliation. Thus, pessimistically Anzaldúa regrets the lack of praxis beyond the pages of This Bridge: “the idea of Third World feminism has proved to be much easier between the covers of a book than between real live women” (Anzaldúa/Moraga 5). In 2002 Anzaldúa collaborated with Analouise Keating to publish what would be her last project on Third World women writing before diabetes would suddenly take her life in 2004. Keating starts her introductory note to this bridge we call home by signalling her scepticism about the success of This Bridge when there are still many instances of white women feminists ignoring insights, tokenizing, or imposing their own imperial standards on colleagues of colour. Twenty years later and with the fear that they have not progressed as much as it is believed, Keating aims at restarting the dialogue, stimulating new conversations and thus making change occur. In this way, This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions of Transformation could be said to continue the dialogue initiated in This Bridge Called my Back.

[6] For more information about the concept ‘Shadow-Beast’, see also Alarcón 2003:363.

[7] Maquiladoras work in assembly lines located in border towns and they specialise in industries such as car manufacture, electronics, computers and textile. These women function with a high level of efficiency, quality and adaptability despite very low wages and working conditions. At the end of the nineties, these assembly lines exported forty per cent of Mexican gross national products even though the country invested an even higher amount in improving the technology (Wright 208-25).

[8] While there is debate over the usefulness of numbering the different historical phases of feminism (into first, second and third), it is clear that the Second Wave refers to the activism of the 1960s and 1970s that focused on civil rights and equality (cf. Nicholson).

Works Cited

Alarcón, Norma..“Anzaldúa’s Frontera: Inscribing Gynetics.” A Critical Reader: Chicana Feminisms. Ed. Gabriela F. Arredondo et al. Durham and London:..Duke University Press, 2003. , 354-369.

Alarcón, Norma . “Traduttora, Traditora: A Paradigmatic Figure of Chicana Feminism.” Scattered Hegemonies: Postmodernity, Transnational, Feminist Practices. Ed. Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994. 110-136.

Anzaldúa, Gloria E. and Moraga, Cherríe (eds.).This Bridge Called my Back: Writings by Radical Women of Colour. New York: Women of Colour Press, 1983.

Anzaldúa, Gloria E. and Moraga, Cherríe. This Bridge Called my Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Berkeley: Third Women Press, 1983.

Anzaldúa, Gloria E. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. San-Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987.

Anzaldua, Gloria E. and AnaLouise Keating. This Bridge Called my Home. New York: Routledge 2002.

Benito, Jesús and Manzanas, Ana María (eds.). Literature and Ethnicity in the Cultural Borderlands. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2002.

Beverley, John. Subalternity and Representation: Arguments in Cultural Theory. Durham: Duke University Press, 2002.

Chang, Elaine K. “Run through the Borders: Feminism, Postmodernism, and Runaway Subjectivity.” Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics. Ed. David Johnson and Scott Michaelsen. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1997. 97-119.

Gibson-Graham, J. K. “’Stuffed if I know!’: Reflections on Post-modern Feminist Social Research.” Space, Gender, Knowledge: Feminist Readings. Ed. McDowell, Linda and Joanne P. Sharp., London and New York: Arnold, 1997.

Johnson, David and Scott Michaelsen. Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

McDowell, Linda and Joanne P Sharp (eds.). Space, Gender and Knowledge: Feminists Readings. London and New York: Arnold, 1997.

Meier, Matt S. Mexican Americans, American Mexicans: From Conquistadors to Chicanos. New York: Hilla and Wang, 1993.

Mignolo, Walter. The Darker Side of Renaissance: Literacy, Territoriality, and Colonization. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.

Moreiras, Alberto. The Exhaustion of Difference: the Politics of Latin American Cultural Studies. Durham: Duke University Press, 2001.

Moya, Paula. “Postmodernism, ‘Realism’, and the Politics of Identity: Cherríe Moraga and Chicana Feminism.” Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures. Ed. M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty. New York and London: Routledge, 1997. 125-142.

Nicholson, Linda (ed.). The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory. New York:Routledge, 1997.

Orr, Catherine. “Charting the Currents of the Third Wave.” Hypatia, Vol. 12, No. 3, 1991. 29-46.

Rosa Izas, Karin. “Gloria Anzaldúa.” Chicana Ways: Conversations with Ten Chicana Writers. Las Vegas and Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2002. 1-25.

Wright, Melissa. “Maquiladoras Mestizas and a Feminist Border Politics: Revisiting Anzaldúa.” Decentering the Center: Philosophy for a Multicultural, Postcolonial, and Feminist World. Ed. Uma Narayan and Sandra Harding. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000. 208-225.

“The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.” Hispanic Reading Room, Hispanic Division. Library of Congress. 21 March 2008. 3 September 2007. <http://loc.gov/rr/hispanic/ghtreaty/>

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