Beyond Literary Landscapes

Gloria Anzaldúa

From my early beginnings as a young introvert, the public library has always been a bit of a refuge.  Years later, not much has changed, albeit with an additional affinity for endless hours spent scouring second-hand bookstores to add to my ever-growing “to-read” pile.

From one bookworm to another, this column will be underscoring and outlining various literary genres, authors, and recent reads and can serve as an introduction for those unfamiliar with these works, as a refresher for long-time aficionados, and maybe as an inspiration for readers to share their own suggested topics.  Do you have a topic that you would like covered in this column?  Feel free to contact me for an interview and a feature in an upcoming column.


This column serves as an introduction to the works of Gloria Anzaldúa, a reminder of some of the author’s classics, and as an inspiration for further reading.

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa “was a queer Chicana poet, feminist theorist, and writer.”

Similar authors and scholars include Cherríe Moraga, author of Native Country of My Heart and Loving in the War Years.


The scholar’s most well-known works include Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, as well as the co-edited This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color with Cherríe Moraga.

Other popular works include the co-edited Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color and Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality.

Many of these works often switch between Spanish, Náhuatl, and English.

Anzaldúa focuses on several topics and themes, including:

Borderlands Identity – “[A]ccording to Anzaldúa, [the term Borderlands] refers to the geographical area that is most susceptible to la mezcla [hybridity], neither fully of Mexico nor fully of the United States.”

Anzaldúa’s “borderlands emerge ‘whenever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle and upper classes touch, where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy.’”  In particular, the borderlands “definition arises from the dialectic between those ‘invisible’ societal borders and the historical materiality of the U.S.-Mexican border.”

Although the borderlands “physically [refers] to the U.S.–Mexico border . . . [it] also [incorporates] psychological aspects to describe the spiritual, sexual, or other boundaries that, although arbitrary and painful, guide one’s identity.”

Nepantla Theme – The theme of Nepantla “meaning “in the middle” [is used] to describe her experience as a Chicana woman.”  In particular, this Náhuatl term “conjures ideas of blending, mixing, and being of two cultures.”


Many of Anzaldúa focus on border areas of the Unites States, such as California and Texas, as well as Mexico.


Anzaldúa works often take place in the late 20-century.


Readers interested in learning more about the theory of borderlands identity, the theme of Nepantla, as well as feminism, sexual orientation, gender, race, Chicana identity, colonialism, intersectionality, racism, sexism, homophobia, as well as spirituality may be interested in the works of Anzaldúa.


AU’s wide range of diverse courses make it easy to study this topic in depth.  Courses related to the works of Stephen King are available in a variety of disciplines, including one’s that may fit into your Degree Works. (Always check with an AU counsellor to see if these particular courses fulfill your personal graduation requirements!)

AU students interested in learning more about this topic may enroll in WGST 460: Famous Feminists and Their Times: Global History of Feminism, a senior-level, three-credit course, which focuses on “the history of feminism from the perspective of the women and men who . . . sought to challenge the prevailing socio-political, economic, and religious order that sanctioned female inequality in their lifetimes.”

In addition, learners may also be interested in WGST 401: Contemporary Feminist Theory, a senior-level, three-credit course, which offers learners an “overview of feminist theories and women’s movements in Canada and elsewhere in the world and a critical discussion of varieties of feminism as they pertain to issues such as gender violence, reproduction, work, families, and sexuality.”  (Although there are no prerequisites for this course, enrollment in WGST 266: Thinking from Women’s Lives: An Introduction to Women’s Studies is recommended.)  Happy reading!