Borderlands Theory: Producing Border Epistemologies with Gloria Anzaldua

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Virginia Tech


This study is dedicated to examine the concept of borders, geographical and otherwise, as instruments that are socially produced. It utilizes Gloria Anzaldua's theoretical framework of Borderlands theory as a set of processes that seek to attain the de-colonization of the inner self. The historical and spatial dynamics of the geographical border between Mexico and United States, largely shaped by the U.S. expansionist agenda, resulted in the Mexican lost of more than half of its territory and the subsequent stigmatization of Mexican-Americans/Chicanos as "foreign others," since they did not share with predominant Anglo-Saxons the same values, culture, religion, traditions and skin color. I argue that the later exploitation, exclusion, marginalization, and racism against Mexican-Americans/Chicanos informed Anzaldua's development of her Borderlands theory that seeks to attain liberation for any colonized identity. However, it is also my argument that the borderlands theory fails to account for meaningful political freedom since the processes that compose the theory are principally worked at the inner level, restricting the possibilities for a direct confrontation in the public sphere.



Politics, Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldúa, Borders, Borderlands Theory, Chicana/o, Freedom, Postcolonial Theory U.S.-Mexico war