The contradictory simultaneity of being with others: Exploring concepts of time and community in the work of Gloria Anzaldúa

Feminist Review 97 (1):151-167 (2011)
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While social geographers have convincingly made the case that space is not an external constant, but rather is produced through inter-relations, anthropologists and sociologists have done much to further an understanding of time, as itself constituted through social interaction and inter-relation. Their work suggests that time is not an apolitical background to social life, but shapes how we perceive and relate to others. For those interested in exploring issues such as identity, community and difference, this suggests that attending to how temporal discourses are utilised in relation to these issues is a key task. This article seeks to contribute to an expansion of the debate about time and sociality by contributing an analysis of a variety of ways in which Gloria Anzaldúa utilises temporal concepts as part of her work of rethinking social identity and community. In particular, I suggest that in contesting homogeneous identity, Anzaldúa also implicitly contests linear temporal frameworks. Further, in creating new frameworks for identity, I suggest the possibility of discerning an alternative approach to time in her work that places difference at the heart of simultaneity. I suggest that the interconnection between concepts of time and community within Anzaldúa’s work indicates, more broadly, that attempts to rework understandings of relationality must be accompanied by reworked accounts of temporality.
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