Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera amidst the Discourse of 'Bad Hombres' (Panel)


American/Diaspora / Cultural Studies and Media Studies

Marina Malli (SUNY Binghamton University)

As next year’s convention is dedicated to tradition, I propose an exploration of the discourse surrounding the US-Mexico border, border crossing, and “illegal” immigration. Perhaps as popular as “Make American Great Again,” “Build the Wall” was and is one of the primary chants during and after Trump’s campaign. In recent politics, we have seen the discourse of xenophobia run rampant with Trump declaring a “border crisis,” and attacking both “illegal” and “legal” immigration. Due to the proliferation of an increasingly inimical discourse against US Latinxs, it is imperative that we examine the Latinx experience now.

Gloria Anzaldúa’s now canonical Borderlands/La Frontera functions as a point of reference in contemporary Chicanx and Latinx studies from which we can draw our means of negotiating with and understanding physical and metaphysical borders. Anzaldúa wrote Borderlands in the late 1980s paving the way for Latinx writers, and inspiring a wave of creative and theoretical activity and a new Chicanx consciousness. Following the book’s theme of traversing boundaries, Anzaldúa transgresses literary genres mixing theory with personal narrative, history with poetry, English with Spanish. She describes the US-Mexico border as an “open wound,” “una herida abierta,” while re-imagining the borderlands as a “crossroad,” and requesting a “tolerance for ambiguity.” Anzaldúa’s border inhabitation is a way of being that resists limits, boundaries, and monolithic notions of identity.

This panel seeks to explore the contemporariness of Anzaldúa’s text and its continuity in today’s discourse. I am looking for presentations following the legacy of Anzaldúa in Chicanx and Latinx studies, focusing particularly on border crossing and inhabitation, and including literary representations of border culture, duality, displacement, and negotiating multiple realities, and other aspects of Latinx identity and experience today. The goal of the panel is not just to discuss the now, but also bridge a way towards the future.

This panel seeks presentations on Gloria Anzaldúa’s legacy in contemporary theory and literature. This panel welcome discussions of displacement, duality, limit and boundary transgression, border culture as well as Chicanx and Latinx identity and experience today. The goal of the panel is not just to discuss the now but also to keep constructing a bridge of border consciousness and mestizaje.