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Connecting Intersectionality and Nepantla to Resist Oppressions: A Feminist Fiction Approach


This essay argues that the black and Chicana feminist theories of Kimberlé Crenshaw and Gloria Anzaldúa, intersectionality and nepantla, respectively, attend to the complicated aspects of women’s identities, yet each also involves unique analyses that interrogate systemic understandings of oppression. I argue for a framework of intersectional nepantla, that is, the merger of these theories into a conjoining theoretical framework to be applied to issues related to the oppressions of US women, particularly women of color. Such merging involves the labor of women’s self-reflection and examination and the difficult task of struggling through the pain and discomfort of internal resistance and oppression to move to this work on collective levels. This individual grappling and interrogation are worthwhile because they entail examinations of white heterosexist patriarchy at the personal and societal levels. An intersectional nepantla analytical lens, connecting the works of two key US feminist theories, creates an internal/personal and external/societal system of examination that leads to the investigation of and resistance toward oppressions for women, particularly women of color. Though I apply this lens to literary productions by black feminist authors, intersectional nepantla is a method of analysis that may expand into various disciplines and areas in order to interrogate the identity-based oppressions of all, but primarily women of color due to their multifaceted identities and histories with race- and gender-based discriminations within white heteropatriarchal US society.