From Otherness to Otherwise: Gloria Anzaldúa's Decolonial Aesthetics

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Department of English, NTNU


This article adopts a decolonial lens to explore leading Chicana feminist writer Gloria Anzaldúa's aesthetics as an attempt to de-other and expand the field of Chicana literature, which receives less academic attention in Taiwan than other minority discourses. The article argues that the strangeness in Anzaldúa's writings, which resist straightforward attempts to decipher them, results from the double nature of her endeavor. On the one hand, Anzaldúa decolonizes aesthetics by liberating non-rational sensibilities suppressed by the rational mind to broaden the scope of what counts as reality. On the other hand, she aestheticizes decoloniality by deploying experimental storytelling strategies to offer new languages for those residing in the cracks of the normative to narrate their subjectivities. Through this double movement, Anzaldúa's decolonial aesthetics de-others those considered to be outcast, lesser, or alien, so we might recognize their ontological co-existence with us and the pluriversal world we live in. For Anzaldúa, the praxis of de-othering is not about familiarizing those marked as the other within an existing frame of meaning. Instead, as this article will show, to de-other is to desire an otherwise realm that opens up an alternative space-time where the multiplicity that themarginalized preserve and embody can be affirmed and appreciated.