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Lecture

ENGL 3550 March 15.docx

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Department
English
Course
ENGL 3550
Professor
Christine Bold
Semester
Winter

Description
 Author uses language that is Spanish but is not quite European Spanish  Mexican-American border o Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) o Map lays out the different historical moments when the border for Mexicans shifted o Texas claimed the disputed (light grey) land & the border moved South – so, Mexican’s that were living in the North of Mexico now lived in the US – dispossessed of their own identities – trapped by the American nation Gloria Anzaldua:  She worked as a sharecropper (often associated with African-Americans in the South, but also Mexicans further West) – you do not own your own land, you just work it, never really gain any ground  Managed to get herself a university education – from there, became a high school teacher  Editor, writer, poet, theorist  Very prominent figure as someone who came from a very impoverished background and became very famous  Poem – “Elsonuvabitche” is set in Indiana – chicano/chicana (Mexican- American people) are not confined to the area where the border moved – more a question of who is American, the separation  Good to have both geographical locations in mind because both are referenced (by location and by speaker’s/worker’s identities Anzaldua: cultural politics  Various ways that Anzaldua self-identified: Chicana, lesbian, queer, mestiza o Ways in which she would identify her sexuality as queer, but also in the ways she was trying to “queer” her work, complicating or mixing up categories of identity or sexuality o Mestiza – about her work brings together various identities – gender, racial, politics – “mix” or “mixing” – hybridizing, mixing up of various kinds of categories o Felt herself an outsider in various communities – anglo, chicano/a communities o Chicano/a nationalism – although she very much identifies as chicana, she also had a lot of issues with a ruling homophobia and sexism within chicano nationalism – claim for homeland/reassertion of nationalism – the way this was framed she saw again and again as exclusionary – very masculinist – she didn’t quite fit in this community o but, she didn’t fit in any easy way with Anglo-American feminism  she saw this as deeply classicist and racist – focusing on the middle classes, and not taking into consideration the ways that middle class privilege might map onto struggles of lower class  also racist, whiteness taken for granted  she was a feminist & a chicana activist, but she had no comfortable position within these or other stable communities o Aiming to create mestiza consiousnes, una cultura mestiza  Trying to create this mixed consciousness/culture – making the mixing in and of itself the primary characteristic of the world that she wanted to bring into being  Borderlands/La Frontera – her breakthrough book (in 1987)  Places where indigenous language is put together with Spanish, and we might call that Chicano  The movement back and forth among all the languages is quite complicated, brings all the voices together (bit hard to read the book)  Very hard to say what genres is, she uses prose, but also poetry that intermingles with it – the very genre classification of the book is mestiza  Attempts to break down dualities of all kinds (identity not being either this or that – not male or female, a kind of trans – not gay or straight, but a spectrum)  There is a mestiza going
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