What I find absolutely fascinating with Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza is how she elucidates the ways in which borders that lie within the interiors of our minds can not only solidify and reproduce borders along the external topographies of our lives, but can also provide powerful shiftings and reimaginings that nod towards a more just world. What better way to strengthen her discussion on what it means for “the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country” in a borderland “where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds” than exploring epistemological borders where her writing bleeds from Spanish to English, poetry to historical narratives to anecdotal confessions? For as she writes, a borderland “is in a constant state of transition,” so shouldn’t the ways in which we write, talk, and therefore come to understand borderlands be in transition as well?
So much of what it means to inhabit or understand borderlands is to live within the hyphen of identities, to live within cultural exchange, to form a mestiza consciousness. As Curtis Marez writes in his essay on the Keyword Mestizo/a, “ Combining the racial and cultural meanings of the term, Anzaldúa used “mestiza” as a metaphor for the kinds of borderland subjectivities produced by multiple discourses and practices of gender, sexuality, race, class, nationalism, and imperialism” (159). The approach in which Anzaldúa uses throughout Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza is one that is honest and effect precisely because she is attuned to the myriad of borderland subjectivities and demonstrates this throughout her writing and its language/stylistic shifts.
As we were discussing in last class in reference to both the Miles and Deer articles, the importance of land for indigenous communities as a physical referential node to cultural values is something that cannot be ignored. It’d be interesting to explore bordercultures and the way they’ve been inscribed within the physical landscape, especially pertaining to the burgeoning surveillance culture along the U.S./Mexican border. I imagine an aerial shot of the border fence along Mexico (“splits me/splits me/me raja/me raja”), crisscrossed with aircraft landing strips and other inscriptions of surveillance. How has this physical terrain of surveillance been internalized within those living alongside/within borderlands? For, as Anzaldúa shows us, the divide between inner/external geographies of borders is a lot smaller than we may think, if there is one at all.