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 Methodological Notes toward a Decolonial Feminism M A R Í A L U G O N E S I do not seek to erase the factors of time and place that coalesce as they do only in me. —alfred arteaga, Chicano Poetics The diasporic subject reminds us that Aztlán, the mythic homeland, shifts and moves beneath and around us. The mythic homeland is longed for, constructed, and rewritten through collective memories. Time is traversed and mythic past entwines with a future where a decolonized imaginary has possibilities. The ‘‘imagined community’’ of Aztlán was initially given an ‘‘essentialist identity,’’ but if it is rethought as traveling culture, then its identity depends upon its social construction, in which memory and forgetting are as much a part of the history as the myth. Although seemingly adaptive, diaspora’s transformative mobility is in actuality its most creative oppositional function. —emma perez, The Decolonial Imaginary The colonial difference is the space where the coloniality of power is enacted. —walter mignolo, Local Histories/Global Designs The theories of feminism developed by the coalition Women of Color in the United States in the 1980s transformed the meaning of gender. If all the ‘‘women’’ are ‘‘white’’ and all the ‘‘blacks’’ are ‘‘male,’’ what does ‘‘black woman’’ mean? The question can be repeated for Latinas, Chicanas , Asians, and Native Americans. The coalition Women of Color was PAGE 68 ................. 18125$ $CH3 09-19-11 07:52:03 PS m e th o d ol o g ic a l no t e s t o w ar d a de c o lo n i al f e mi n i sm 兩 69 formed in part to answer this question, a question not dissimilar to Sojourner Truth’s question, ‘‘Ain’t I a woman?’’1 The question constitutes an existential, material, social response to the idea of a universal ‘‘woman.’’ The question was answered in at least two ways. The first answer revealed the inseparability of race and gender. When ‘‘woman’’ stands for ‘‘white woman’’ and ‘‘black’’ stands for ‘‘black man,’’ the term ‘‘black woman’’ is grossly inadequate because racial formation and gender formation are inseparable processes. There is no underlying, core, irreducible meaning to ‘‘man’’ or ‘‘woman’’ apart from race. It is not just that the meaning of ‘‘man’’ and ‘‘woman’’ cannot be reduced to the reproductive ; the reproductive itself cannot be thought apart from the racialization of procreation. The additive understanding of the relation between race and gender has received many and varied forms of critique. The critique of the logic of addition moved to the logic of intersection. Intersectionality looked for Latina, black, Asian, and indigenous women at the intersection of race and gender. In particular, it considered the relation of race and gender in the U.S. legal system. Intersectionality points to the erasure of nonwhite women from the legal system. To say that nonwhite women are erased from the legal system is to say that they will not find redress regarding issues such as racialized sexual harassment because there are no subjects that could be abused in this manner who are recognized by the law. The legal system recognizes categories that disentangle gender from race. Thus at the intersection we find an absence. All structuring of social life in the United States mirrors the law in this erasing of black, Native American , Latina, and Asian women. At the intersection of ‘‘woman’’ and ‘‘black’’ or ‘‘Latino’’ or ‘‘Native American’’ or ‘‘Asian’’ one finds an absence or a distortion, such as an understanding of Native American women as the addition of white women and Native American men. To notice the inseparability of race and gender, to ‘‘see’’ nonwhite women, produces an important epistemological shift. One ‘‘sees’’ the inseparability in questions of labor, education, knowledge, legal practices, health practices, religious agency, and theology.2 Intersectionality is also a more significant move. One looks at theoretical accounts of feminism, at feminist practices, at perceptions, and asks the intersectional question. As PAGE 69 ................. 18125$ $CH3 09-19-11 07:52:04 PS 70 兩 m a rı́ a l ug on es such, the intersectional question reveals racism at the fundamental theoretical and epistemological levels. The second answer to the meaning of African American, Native American , Latina, and Asian women is the coalitional meaning Women of Color. It reveals selves and reality as multiple. Because multiplicity is also understood in two related ways, a double meaning, this answer also doubles. On the one hand, the racialized, gendered self is...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780823249343
Related ISBN
9780823241361
MARC Record
OCLC
787845994
Pages
320
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
No
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