Imply / Infer
Imply means to
(you’re sending a
To infer is to come to
a conclusion based
(you’re interpreting a
The poet is the
priest of the
La conciencia de la mestiza/
Towards a New Consciousness
Postmodernism and Intersections
of identity and oppression
Gloria Anzaldua was a
patlache poet, writer,
and cultural theorist."
Intersections of identity and oppression
As a Mestiza I have no country, my homeland cast me out; yet all
countries are mine because I am every woman’s sister or potential
lover. (As a lesbian I have no race, my own people disclaim me; but I
am all races because there is the queer of me in all races.) I am
cultureless because, as a feminist, I challenge the collective
cultural/religious male-derived beliefs of Indo-Hispanics and Anglos,
yet I am cultured because I am participating in the creation of yet
another culture, a new story to explain the world and our
participation in it, a new value system with images and symbols that
connect us to each other and to the planet. 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. (841)
Gloria Anzaldua is among the many feminist theorists that
move into the realm of addressing postmodern
identities. In her discussion of a new emerging
consciousness in La conciencia de la mestiza: Towards a
New Consciousness, Anzaldua suggests the construction of
identities as multiple, hybrid, and more specifically,
created as a result of the Borderlands, those spaces that
intersect. While the people who live in the intersections
are privy to a world others don’t see or understand, it 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 color. For instance, if an
African-American woman advocates for women’s rights, does this
mean that femininity and the struggle against gender oppression takes
precedence over her racial identity and her struggle against
colonization and racial oppression?
The inverse question can also be asked. If an African-American woman
of color 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.
Discuss Postmodernism, or Feminist Theory, or
Minority Theory in terms of Anzuldua
Living in ambiguity
Living a narrative of fragmentation—not a neat
beginning, middle, and end.
Language and Postmodernism
1. Q: How does using Spanish in her work
help Anzaldua give her theories more
depth than just using English?
2. How does Anzaldua’s use of “Spanglish”
affect the reader of her works?
3. How does Anzaldua’s use of Spanish
support of take away from her writing?
4. Q: Is Anzaldua writing in both English and
Spanish to describe how she is mixed and
struggling in both worlds?
Queerness and Postmodernism
Q: Can the same transcendent social power
with which Anzaldua imbues queerness be
found in another groups? Can it be found in
every person? Does Anzaldua inadvertently
invoke a binary opposition between queer
and non-queer, or Chicana and “other”?
Q: Why did Anzaldua say “colored
homosexuals have more knowledge of other
cultures” (844) when she refers to herself as
“cultureless” ? (841).
Q: Does Anzaldua feel more empowered or
marginalized by her status as a mestiza?
Q: Can a person who is fighting for the rights
of humanity labeled as one ethnic make, be
Q: How is Gloria Anzaldua’s La conciencia
the answer or solution to the problems
presented in W.E.B Du Bois’s The Souls of Black
Discuss themes or meaning in
The obvious themes in the poems are inequality,
race, machismo, immigration, identity, and
“El Sonavabitche” documents and comments on
the unjust treatment and advantages taken of
undocumented field workers. One theme I find
interesting is the way the law is manipulated as a
means of profiting in the poem.
El Sonavabitche discusses the theme of power
within the context of immigration. Many people
have this power, the power of citizenship.
QHQ: “La Conciencia de la
Mestiza” and Patriarchy
What does Gloria Anzaldua mean by “the new
man needs a movement?” (844)
Q: How can men break free from being “fettered
to gender roles” (Andzaldua 844)? And what can
we do to make this a men’s issue while being
sensitive to women, feminists and people who
identify as LGBTQIA?
Q: Anzaldua calls white conventions patriarchal,
but weren’t all old cultures patriarchal in some
Author Introduction: Maxine Hong
Maxine "Ting Ting" Hong Kingston grew up in a
working-class neighborhood in Stockton,
California. Born in 1940 to Tom Hong and Brave
Orchid, Kingston is the oldest of her parents' six
American-born children. Kingston's parents serve
as the primary sources for the imaginative stories
she writes. Part 1 of Kingston’s autobiography
Warrior Woman is “No Name Woman,” a secret
story of an aunt from China that she never knew
Read Maxine Hong Kingston
Warrior Woman: Part 1 “No Name Woman
Post #35: Choose one
Discuss a theme or symbol from the reading
Comment on the text via a critical lens.
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