Borderlands: La Frontera published by the well-known Chicana feminist Gloria Anzaldúa in 1987. The book is Gloria’s semi-autography, including her experiences as a Chicana who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas to examine how power constructs shape one’s cultural identity. While the book’s first half contains allusive poetries, the latter half records how Gloria thinks the Chicanos/a had been oppressed over time. The book interests this research project because it places women at the heart of the historical processes that create the “borderland.”
In January 2012, the book was banned by the Tucson Unified School System in Arizona as part of its efforts to enforce a new regulation that banned Mexican American Studies in its public school. On this basis, Borderlands/La Frontera’s ideas and values remain important today. Through Borderlands/La Frontera, Gloria coined the term mestiza consciousness to describe the sense of “in-betweenness” and the hybrid identity of communities living in borderlands.
“The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms it hemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country-a border culture. Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary.”
Una lucha de fronteras/ A Struggle of Borders
“Because I, a mestiza,
continually walk out of one culture
and into another,
because I am in all cultures at the same time,
alma entre dos mundos, tres, cuatro,
me zumba la cabeza con lo contradictorio.
Estoy norteada por todas las voces que me bablan
Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands: La Frontera: The New Mestiza. 4th ed. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 2012.