Suzanne Sanders / Women’s Museum of California
According to the common understanding, a liminal state is supposed to be one we use to pass from one phase to the next. It’s a threshold, so to speak. But what happens when that liminal state is a permanent residence?
Gloria Anzaldua, the noted Chicana, tejana-originating, lesbian-feminist poet and fiction writer (who also spent a great deal of her life in California), explores this state in her seminal 1987 cultural criticism Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza.
Although Anzaldua passed away in 2004, her ideas may be even more relevant today. As an American-born Chicana, Anzaldua explores the contradictions and challenges of being considered neither one nor the other. She notes often in her writing that this Otherness is socially and culturally – and sometimes – infrastructurally constructed. She writes in Borderlands, “The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta [an open wound] where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds. And before a scab forms, it haemorrhages again, the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third country—a border culture” (25). We must question, then, the effects on this third country, this border culture, when President Trump’s physical wall becomes a reality. [Read more…]