Theorizing Feminism: Parallel Trends in the Humanities and Social Sciences

By Anne C. Herrmann; Abigail J. Stewart | Go to book overview

14 Gender, Race, Raza

AMY KAMINSKY

Since the publication of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings of Radical Women of Color (1981) and All the Women Are White, All the Blacks Are Men, but Some of Us Are Brave (1982), scholarship by and about women of color has become increasingly central to the project of academic feminism in the United States. 1 Many white academic feminists have, for their part, made a concerted effort to pay attention to issues of race in their theoretical, critical, and pedagogical work. 2 This important and necessary change is increasingly affecting the way gender itself is understood. Nevertheless, the acknowledgment of racial difference and even the publication of important feminist/womanist work concerning women of color has not meant that race has been sufficiently theorized in the context of feminism. Here I am referring not simply to challenging the homogeneity of a racial community, or to looking simultaneously at race and gender, but, rather, to analyzing the instability of race itself and the part gender plays in naturalizing what gets called "race" in and across cultures. 3 In an attempt to do some of this work here, I use a comparative, gender-conscious approach to examine configurations of race as they occur in and between Spain, Spanish America, and the United States. I name and discuss three discrete but overlapping moments of Hispanic racial formation: the Imperial, the postcolonial, and the expatriate. The Imperial moment occurs between 1492 (when the last Moslem kingdom in Spain was defeated by Ferdinand and Isabella and Columbus landed in America) and the mid- to late-nineteenth century, when Spain lost its American colonies. The postcolonial moment begins with that nineteenth-century independence from Spain and continues through the present. It refers geographically to Spanish America. The expatriate moment is primarily a late-twentieth-century phenomenon marked by the emigration of Spanish Americans to Europe (including Spain) and the United States. My discussion elaborates the notion that as

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