Embodying Gloria Anzaldúa's "New Mestiza" En El Valle
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This thesis is a multimedia project that uses an auto-ethnographic approach as the framework and Gloria Anzaldúa’s border language and identity theories to help me understand my own Chicana identity as a third-generation. She is a well-renowned Chicana-queer-feminist writer and theorist, famous for her work about marginal and mixed cultures that develop along the U.S.-Mexico border. I explore how ambiguous and powerful a Chicana border identity can be with the use of traditional 35 mm photography, writing, and video/audio recordings. I attempt to capture the experience of growing up near the border in South Texas, and I also document my family’s oral histories to help explain where I come from. Gloria Anzaldúa’s book Borderlands: The New Mestiza La Frontera unveils how multifaceted a Chicana, Latina, Mexican-American, and Hispanic identity can be as it endures many contradictions in origin, status, and location. Anzaldúa and I are from South Texas, also known as the Rio Grande Valley. It’s a region displaced between American and Mexican culture which emphasizes the complex nature of border identity.
As a third-generation Hispanic, I’ve struggled with speaking Spanish and my legitimacy in my own Chicana identity. Many third-generation Hispanics, like myself, feel less connected to their origin stories, language, and culture while the previous generations have stronger ties to their roots. Using her theories relating to the “New Mestiza” identity, this project attempts to examine the varying levels of our personal relationship with language and identity from first to third generation, using my family and personal experiences. With Anzaldúa’s work, I’m rediscovering my Chicana voice by acknowledging my family’s past and rediscovering the spaces around me again.