Monday, September 21, 2009

Borderlands/La Frontera

This week, we're reading Gloria Anzaldúa's foundational work, Borderlands/La Frontera with attention to its genre shifting, self-reflexivity, cultural and identity politics, and/or its relationship to queer theory. Yes, all of those things and quite a few more are working/playing in this text, which is in part what makes it so beautiful and difficult.
As an entry point into the formal structure of this work and its relationship to the overall meaning, I would like you to begin the exercise for this week by looking up the word "mestiza" in the OED Online. Follow the etymological trail to the word's origins and related terms (i.e., mestizo, mestizaje), and identify key characteristics of the term. Then, explain how the definitions you encounter in the OED differ from those offered by Anzaldúa. (You will, of course, need to summarize or define how the author uses the term.)
Finally, identify a passage (either prose or poetry) that most directly encompasses Anzaldúa's conception of "mestiza" and explain why.

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