La Mexicana en la Chicana: Sources of Anzaldúa’s Mexican Philosophy

In Adrianna M. Santos, Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz & Norma E. Cantú (eds.), El Mundo Zurdo 8: Selected Works from the 2019 Meeting of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa. pp. 169-186 (2022)
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Our paper examines Gloria Anzaldúa’s critical appropriation of Mexican philosophical sources, especially in the writing of Borderlands/La Frontera. We demonstrate how Anzaldúa developed a transnational Philosophy of Mexicanness, effectively contributing to what has been recently characterized as the “multi-generational project to pursue philosophy from and about Mexican circumstances” (Vargas). More specifically, we recover “La Mexicana en la Chicana” by paying careful attention to Anzaldúa’s Mexican sources, both those she explicitly cites and those we have discovered while conducting archival research using the Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers from the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. The three sections of our paper: 1) define the terms Mexican and philosophy in conversation with Anzaldúa’s work, 2) examine the Mexican philosophical sources that Anzaldúa cites in Borderlands/La Frontera, and 3) present the other major Mexican philosophical influences on Anzaldúa that we have found in her archive. The eight Mexican philosophical sources we discuss here include: José Vasconcelos (1882-1959), Miguel León-Portilla (1926-2019), Juana Armanda Alegría (1938- ), Octavio Paz (1914-1998), Samuel Ramos (1897-1959), Rosario Castellanos (1925-1974), Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz (1648-1695), and Jorge Carrión (1913-2005).

Author Profiles

Alexander V. Stehn
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Mariana Alessandri
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley


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