Gloria Anzaldua Paris Symposium/Conference, May 16-17, 2019

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldua (1942-2004) is a major figure in many inter-disciplines, disciplinary areas of scholarship and art. She was born in the U.S., in the Rio Grande Valley at the border of Texas and Mexico into a family that had been in the U.S. for six generations, and died in Santa Cruz, California. Anzaldua contributed foundational works to Chicana/o/x cultural theory, feminist theory and queer theory. She is one of the first if not actually the first to construct queer theory within the academy in the 1980s. She co-edited the ground-breaking book on women and queers of color feminism, This Bridge Called My Back. Anzaldua is a major writer of literary essays, poetry, short stories and children’s books. Her illustrations have been the subject of art exhibits. Her most renowned sole-authored book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, has been translated into multiple languages and is currently being translated into French. It is a multi-genres book including auto-biography, auto-historia, auto-historia-teoria, political essays, literary musings, and poetry. In it, Anzaldua performs the process of decolonizing language by shifting from English (the main language of the book) into Tex-Mex Spanish and into Nahuatl, an indigenous language, to create what she called an infant language, this bastard language, Chicano Spanglish which is not approved by any society.

The Anzaldua Paris Symposium conference honors both the thirty year anniversary of Borderlands/La Frontera: La New Mestiza and its forthcoming translation into French. The main unifying thematic is the question of B/borders as conceptualized by Anzaldua, and its multiple situated potential interpretations and elaborations. For Anzaldua borderlands with a small b signals the geographical space of national division, such as the space of her birth at the U.S.-Mexico border. When she writes Borderlands with a capital B the concept-term signifies many other dimensions including psychic, sexual, spiritual, energetic divided spatialities as well. In sum, together the notions of borderlands and Borderlands up a world of possibilities for feminist and queer theory, literatures, historiographies, arts, which are invited to converge in this conference.

Victoria Delgadillo, co-directed and co-wrote the film Califas in 2018, which premiered as part of the MexiCali Biennial at the Fullerton Museum of Art in California. Victoria will screen and discuss this short film at the Gloria Anzaldua: Translating B/borders, Paris Symposium.  Califas, a 15-minute story presented in a traditional Chicanx Rasquachismo genre, will speaks on the 500 years of colonialism that has never ceased. Califas is a mashing up of time, not as something that occurred in the past but rather it reveals the threads that expose our current position in America, and our continual need for resistance. Our participation as Chicanx in this clash/cataclysm of cultures is noted in a truthful, comical and even a hopeful way. Victoria will discuss the process of creating an historically elevated art form (film) on a budget and why Chicanx art is never controlled by a financial aspect.

This gathering is co-organized by University of Paris VIII (France), University of Paris VII (France), University of California, Berkeley (USA), Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldua (USA), University of Texas, San Antonio (USA), and Universidad de Guadalajara (Mexico).

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