Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook

By Jennifer Scanlon | Go to book overview

GLORIA ANZALDÚA
(1942-)

Judith Richards

Tejana-Chicana, Mexicana, india, lesbian, feminist, and mestiza (mixed race), scholar, writer, and activist, Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa sometimes refers to herself as Patlache, the Nahuatl Indian word for lesbian ( Marie 1994, 11). These plural and overlapping descriptors of her identity correspond to the bordercrossing discourse, ethics, and politics that constitute her writing.

Born and raised in south Texas of Latino parents whose own ancestors were of European and American Indian descent, Anzaldúa experienced from an early age the contradictory dynamics at work in the socialization of ethnic minority and girl children. Contact with Anglos in the school setting--where the speaking of Spanish was prohibited and her family was ridiculed because of their poverty--served to silence her voice and conflict her sense of self. "The ancient dances beaten back inside her,/the old song choked back into her throat" ("Del otro lado"). Initially figuring in Anzaldúa's life as sources of pain and dislocation, the hybrid cultural mix that was her heritage and the geo-political fact of the Mexican--U.S. border, a "1,950 mile-long open wound/dividing a pueblo, a culture,/running down the length of my body,/staking fence rods in my flesh" ( Anzaldúa 1987, 2), coalesced in her consciousness as the site from which to resist oppression and construct a new identity in mestizaje. Her "constellated self" claimed a home on the "thin edge of barbed wire," the site from which she took into her own (writer's) hands "the transformation of my own being" ( Anzaldúa 1983, 200). For Anzaldúa, the Borderlands (capitalized) represents a third reality that overrides the either/or rules of border politics. It is a cultural and psychic location where she owes allegiance only to the self she is becoming rather than to one specific community, ethnic, or gender group. The Borderlands is both an uneasy site, where "you are the battleground/where enemies are kin to each other; /you are at home, a stranger,/ . . . wounded, lost in action/dead, fighting back," and a test of endurance, "To survive . . . you must live sin fronteras/be a cross-

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Significant Contemporary American Feminists: A Biographical Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Editorial Board ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bella Abzug (1920-1998) 1
  • Paula Gunn Allen (1939-) 8
  • Gloria AnzaldÚa (1942-) 14
  • Frances Beale (1940-) 22
  • Rita Mae Brown (1944-) 28
  • Charlotte Bunch (1944-) 36
  • Pat Califia (1954-) 44
  • Judy Chicago (1939-) 51
  • Shirley Chisholm (1924-) 55
  • Esther Ngan-Ling Chow (1943-) 60
  • Pearl Cleage (1948-) 66
  • Kate Clinton (1945- ) 73
  • Mary Daly (1928- ) 79
  • Angela Davis (1944-) 86
  • Shulamith Firestone (1945-) 98
  • Jo Freeman (1945-) 104
  • Betty Friedan (1921-) 111
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-) 118
  • Bell Hooks (1952- ) 125
  • Dolores Huerta (1930-) 133
  • June Jordan (1936-) 138
  • Evelyn Fox Keller (1936-) 145
  • Florynce Kennedy (1916-) 150
  • Audre Lorde (1934-1992) 156
  • Catharine Mackinnon (1946-) 163
  • Olga Madar (1915-1996) 174
  • Wilma Mankiller (1945-) 181
  • Del Martin (1921-) 188
  • Kate Millett (1934- ) 194
  • CherrÍe Moraga (1952- ) 201
  • Robin Morgan (1941-) 206
  • Pauli Murray (1910-1985) 213
  • Eleanor Holmes Norton (1937-) 218
  • Alice Paul (1885-1977) 223
  • Anna Quindlen (1952-) 231
  • Adrienne Rich (1929-) 238
  • Faith Ringgold (1930-) 245
  • Rosemary Ruether (1936-) 251
  • Joanna Russ (1937-) 257
  • Patricia Schroeder (1940-) 264
  • Eleanor Smeal (1939-) 271
  • Barbara Smith (1946-) 279
  • Gloria Steinem (1934-) 283
  • Margo St. James (1937-) 290
  • Alice Walker (1944- ) 297
  • Rebecca Walker (1969-) 305
  • Michele Wallace (1952-) 311
  • Sarah Weddington (1945-) 317
  • Ellen Willis (1941-) 327
  • Selected Bibliography 335
  • Index 341
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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