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Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987)

by Gloria Anzaldúa

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1,76399,958 (4.11)8
"Rooted in Gloria Anzaldúa's experience as a Chicana, a lesbian, an activist, and a writer, the essays and poems in this volume profoundly challenged, and continue to challenge, how we think about identity. Borderlands / La Frontera remaps our understanding of what a "border" is, presenting it not as a simple divide between here and there, us and them, but as a psychic, social, and cultural terrain that we inhabit, and that inhabits all of us. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition features a new introduction by scholars Norma Cantu (University of Texas at San Antonio) and Aida Hurtado (University of California at Santa Cruz) as well as a revised critical bibliography."--Back cover.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
This book is difficult to review because it is so many things at once. Anzaldúa's refusal to limit herself to one language, genre, or way of approaching history and truth resulted in my feeling enlightened, challenged, corrected, seen, and inspired. I finished this book with a deeper understanding of not only the physical and metaphorical borderlands Anzaldúa inhabited but also the complexity, struggle, and beauty of borderlands in general. I look forward to finding time to read this book again someday as I believe there is too much within it to get from one reading. ( )
  AngelReadsThings | May 29, 2024 |
I'm going to lose my Chicano, feminist status, but this book wasn't all that great. ( )
  ennuiprayer | Jan 14, 2022 |
Borderlands/La Frontera is probably Gloria Anzaldúa's most well known book. It is definitely a foundational text for Chicana Feminism, and has important contributions for Postcolonial Feminism and Indigenous Feminism. This intersectional work weaves Anzaldúa's life and thoughts in a prose style philosophy that actively defies binary categorization. The book can be challenging if the reader can't understand Spanish, but for those with who can read Spanish and English, it is an enthralling volume. ( )
  AmericanAlexandria | Mar 30, 2021 |
This is a reread in the first place (from a very long time ago,) though of course I’ve read it in excerpt repeatedly in grad school. I’ve read indigenous critiques of Anzaldúa before, and tend to agree with them, that she relies really heavily on her claims to indigenous identity without doing much work about it (a problem that is not solely hers, of course, but a larger issue; see Maria Josefina Saldaña-Portillo’s book Indian Given for more on that.) Nonetheless, it’s obvious why this is and continues to be such a powerful, important work, though I do think working with it in excerpt is probably done so frequently for a reason, because there’s a lot to contend with. Obviously there is the concept of the borderlands to grapple with, as well as la facultad, though it’s interesting how those come together here. I think I struggled quite a bit with la facultad, and I suspect it’ll be something I’ll be chewing on for a long time. This is a book that at least for me is one to return to again and again, and continue to work through. ( )
  aijmiller | Jul 17, 2019 |
I read the second edition of this book for a Latina/o Studies class in college, and found it such a powerful experience that I began pushing it on all my friends. One of them finally took me up on my offer to borrow it, and predictably, it is now lost somewhere in Mumbai!

A collection of essays and poems, written in both English and Spanish, Borderlands/La Frontera was a ground-breaking book that helped pave the way for the concept of "border studies." Brilliant, and at time bitter, it explores the border as a psychological construct, in which different strands of identity meet, and frequently clash. The physical border, in Anzaldua's case, is the U.S./Mexico border in Texas. But equally important, and equally real for the author, are the cultural, gender, and sexual boundaries that intersect her life. As a Tejana, Chicana, American, woman, feminist, and lesbian, Anzaldua has quite a few conflicting identities to try and reconcile, and her documentation of their not-so-peaceful co-existence makes for moving and, at times, uncomfortable reading.

As a straight, Anglo (a term that I don't necessarily accept, but will use here for simplicity) woman, I was amazed at how directly some of Anzaldua's narrative spoke to my own life experiences. I can recall moments of almost breathless wonder, as I read passages that finally gave voice to inchoate thoughts and feelings, vaguely-sensed but never expressed. This, I feel, is the author's true strength: her narrative voice, in the expression of her own experiences. As a theorist and educator, I am not so sure. I've heard some stories about her classroom that make me glad I was never her student... ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Jun 28, 2013 |
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This book is dedicated a todos mexicanos on both sides of the border.
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Preface: The actual physical borderland that I'm dealing with in this book is the Texas-U.S. Southwest/Mexican border.
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"Rooted in Gloria Anzaldúa's experience as a Chicana, a lesbian, an activist, and a writer, the essays and poems in this volume profoundly challenged, and continue to challenge, how we think about identity. Borderlands / La Frontera remaps our understanding of what a "border" is, presenting it not as a simple divide between here and there, us and them, but as a psychic, social, and cultural terrain that we inhabit, and that inhabits all of us. This twenty-fifth anniversary edition features a new introduction by scholars Norma Cantu (University of Texas at San Antonio) and Aida Hurtado (University of California at Santa Cruz) as well as a revised critical bibliography."--Back cover.

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