July 23, 2020

La conciencia de la mestiza:Towards a New Consciousness. AF. Ana Flores. Updated 31 March Transcript. Gloria Anzaldúa. “The fact that I . Gloria Anzaldua’s, “La Conciencia de la Mestiza” The chapter “Towards a New Consciousness” begins with a reference to Mexican author. La conciencia de la mestiza/towards a new consciousness: an inter-american conversation with Gloria Anzaldúa. Rev. Estud. Fem. [online]. , vol, n

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Throughout the duration of this course, we have explored many streams of feminist theory, some more historical pieces, and others more contemporary.

Gloria Anzaldua, in particular, is among the many feminist theorists that move into the realm o f addressing post-modern identities. In her articulation of a new emerging consciousness in La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness, Anzaldua posits the construction of identities as multiple, hybrid, and more specifically created as a result of the Borderlands.

It is a consciousness of the Borderlands. To begin to tease out the ideas inherent in this quote from Anzaldua, a description of the Borderlands is essential. The Borderland is not completely physical, and not completely abstract.

La Conciencia de la Mestiza Towards a New Consciousness

It is any space where multiple identities, histories, and cultures overlap. Moreover, the Borderlands are any space where those in the lower, middle, and upper classes approximate each other, where people of different races live together socially, and where cultures merge.

Often torn between incompatible cultures, la mestiza struggles to distinguish which collectivity that she belongs to. Torn somewhere in the mix between two or more histories, cultures, sets of values, and ways of being in the world, at different moments in time, la mestiza is forced to choose between them but is never quite a part of either; she is outside of culture.

This choice not only renders other parts of her identity and culture invisible, it positions her in one box, one category defined by the dominant culture into a dualistic Western way of thinking; either as oppressed or oppressor, on the offense or defense. As a result of her gender, la mestiza is placed in opposition to masculinit. As a result of her sexual identity, she is placed in opposition to her racial identity.

Moreover, her indigenous identity places her in contradiction to her Spanish identity. For Anzaldua, the new consciousness arising out of this struggle over borders creates a non-dualistic way of thinking and being.

This new consciousness transcends the boundaries constructed by Western myths such as: Both Anzaldua and Haraway argue for a cricual recognition among feminists of those instances and spaces where the boundaries embedded in binaries, established by dominant Western myth, are transgressed and breached.


This is a recurring theoretical stance in post-modern feminist writings: As was previously mentioned, the Borderland is a space where cultures collide, often with incompatible values, opposing histories, and contradictory experiences.

It can be difficult to be an individual, or member, of several social, classed, gendered, racialized groups but never feeling quite at home in either.

An example of the contradictions of which she speaks is through a brief discussion of the identities of women of colour.

The inverse question can also be asked. If an African-American woman of colour takes a political stance for the end of her racial oppression, does this mean that she devalues her experience as being oppressed by her gender identity?

Anzaldua makes a plea to feminists to bridge identities and to understand identities as always being constituted in the Borderlands.

The sorting out the contradictions embedded between these social identities requires a tolerance for ambiguity Anzaldua, Moreover, Anzaldua proposes that we all live in the Borderlands; the space between being inside or outside of culture. Butler would perhaps use the language of not having to choose between being intelligible or unintelligible, as either being on the outside or inside of culture.

It is inclusive insofar as it understands identity as being beyond dualisms and Western binary constructs.

We all live in the Borderlands and instead of responding to the collision of culture by taking a stance on either side of the border, rendering us part of these Western constructs, we can include and embrace our identities as contradictory, different, and ambiguous. This supercedes the need to identify either as oppressed or take on the position of the oppressor. Like Haraway, Anzaldua goes against the current trajectory of feminism s and her aim is to redirect feminism.

Moreover, Anzaldua makes a plea for the recognition of mestkza post-modern human. These feminist, post-modernist and post-structuralist theories are all working toward redirecting feminism to make it more inclusive. They are inclusive in that they pinpoint or try to make visible a new consciousness that is freed from the power and value systems embedded in Western myths and constructs.

Anzaldua also takes up masculinity as a fragmented identity and recognizes that new masculinities emerge out of the transmission of cultures in the Borderlands. Masculinity is often essentially equated with men and Anzaldua disagrees due to the fact that it essentializes all men and pits them in juxtaposition to women. Lq also emphasizes the need for ka racialized cultures to acknowledge and respect those who identify as queer as there is queer in all cultures Anzaldua, Moreover, like Butler and Harawayshe is blatantly against the idea of an inner essence or an inner core identity and argues for a divergent way of thinking about identity as being constituted in a plurality of experiences, histories, and cultures.


Identities, or people rather, learn to live in all cultures and in the Borderlands by not having to choose between cultures. Her argument is such that the only way to conscciousness and create social change is if the individual and collective consciousness actively breaks down and uproots dualistic thinking Anzaldua, As opposed to either being inside of oppressive culture or on the constitutive outside, Anzaldua understands identity as being completely immersed in the Borderlands, the space where cultures not only merge and collide but also nww difference, diversity, and contradiction is celebrated.

The consciousness of the Borderlands neither knows or upholds boundaries. Ultimately, it is in a constant state of ambiguity, and this ambiguity must be tolerated. Even though Anzaldua writes from a different place than other theorists like Haraway and Butler, it seems as though she influences and is influenced by their post-modern writings of identity. This realm of feminist theory attempts to not only move feminism forward, but to redirect it in a more inclusive direction by addressing difference and drawing attention to the ways in which identities have shifted in w late twentieth century.

Within this sphere of feminist thought, it is crucial for feminism s to embrace the contradictory identities and cultures that emerge from the Borderlands which are made visible only through seeing passed the dominant Western myths and constructs put in place by the pervasiveness of modernity.

Only then can we see a way out of oppression through social revolution. It has to occur between people and individual frames of consciousness; having a consciousness of the Borderlands. La Conciencia de la Mestiza: Towards a New Consciousness. The Reinvention of Nature. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

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