Gloria Anzaldúa's womanist idea



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My dissertation, “Gloria Anzaldúa’s Womanist Idea,” is a womanist textual analysis of Chicana queer-feminist theorist Gloria Anzaldúa’s lesser-known scholarship. While Anzaldúa is heralded for her groundbreaking 1987 text, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, she continued to develop her ideas into the twenty-first century. Furthermore, The Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers (1942-2004) contain 128 linear feet of mostly unpublished materials, which scholars have yet to thoroughly examine. Combined, this archive and Anzaldúa’s twenty-first-century publications, offer new directions for women’s and gender studies—directions that could enhance the field’s understanding of Anzaldúa’s most complex thought and generate novel solutions to social injustices. A womanist analysis of Anzaldúa’s “beyond-Borderlands” scholarship is unique because Anzaldúa is typically read through a feminist lens. While feminism has made important contributions to transformational scholarship and activism, it is not the only liberatory mode of thought and action available to us. Womanism is a social change perspective developed and articulated by Black women and other women of colors. A social change praxis informed by the belief that all people—human and nonhuman—as well as nature/the environment, the cosmos, and spiritual realms are inextricably interrelated, womanism is invested in bridging communities across difference and enabling collaborative action toward universal wellness, which is characterized by enhanced agency, mobility, and stability for all groups. In this dissertation I put Anzaldúa’s theory of conocimiento and related theories including new tribalism, nepantleras, la naguala, and spiritual activism into conversation with womanism to demonstrate how Anzaldúan thought and womanism can enrich each other and how scholars and activists can implement Gloria Anzaldúa’s womanist idea to resist oppression and cultivate individual and collective transformation.



Gloria Anzaldúa, womanism, transformation, women's and gender studies, activism