To view the ¡Chequea esto! clips click here.
-- M. Miranda Maloney, contributor to Smithsonian LVM
This blog will serve to document the development of the LVM as well as invite open dialogue in the process and production of virtual world building in Second Life.
"My work is influenced by every day life, the seemingless insignificant labors of our day. It is influenced by men and women who go about their chores unnoticed, unrecognized."
"We see our identities reflected in what we choose the avatar to be, how to dress, how to interact with others, to act, to run, to walk, to stand, to fly."
"Throughout my life, I have thought of myself as a bridge: as a bridge between Latin America and North America. As a bridge between socialism and feminism. As a bridge between generations. Sometimes even as a bridge between genres—"
The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader, Gloria E. Anzaldúa. AnaLouise Keating, ed. Duke University Press, January 2009.
The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader is one of many important texts recently published within Latino letters and Latino scholarship. Its significance is due to its emphasis on issues currently affecting Latinas/os in the United States. Born and raised in South Texas, Gloria E. Anzaldúa became and remains one of the leading feminist/philosopher/activist writers to describe and theorize the meaning of colonization, nationalism, identity, difference, and spirituality. In the late 1970s, her co-edited anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color argued for an all-inclusive feminist and ethnic discourse. Her autobiography Borderlands: La Frontera: The New Mestiza, published in 1987, followed with an argument about challenging ways of thinking in order to achieve personal and communal transformation. Both her anthology and autobiography have since become and remain central texts in Chicana/o Studies, Feminist Studies, Cultural Studies, and Queer Theory.
Close friend and writing partner, AnaLouise Keating has posthumously anthologized a collection of Anzaldúa’s unpublished writings as a reader that attempts to illuminate the wide range of Anzaldúa’s thoughts about writing, spirituality, sexuality, gender, and race/ethnicity. A decade ago, Keating worked with Anzaldúa to publish a series of interviews titled Interviews/Entrevistas published by Routledge. Recently, Keating collaborated on another anthology with Anzaldúa titled This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. Keating’s editorial decisions in The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader fulfill the attempt to expand Anzaldúa’s commitment to social change by arguing for coalition building, politicizing art, and spiritual activism in a series of poems, essays, and visual sketches.
Anthologized for new readers and Anzaldúa scholars alike, Keating structures the reader to expand Anzaldúa’s ideas about writing, spirituality, gender/race, and activism—which were also central topics in This Bridge and Borderlands. In Part 1 of The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader, for example, Keating presents poems, essays, and interviews written before the publication of This Bridge. This particular collection presents Anzaldúa’s early commitment to challenge readers/writers to consider the spiritual aspects of writing and to think more closely about the interrelationship between spirituality, sexuality, and the body. Part 2 presents writings featuring Anzaldúa’s more theoretical work about difference, identity, and coalition building. The essay titled “To(o) Queer the Writer—Loca—escritora y chicana” is a memorable essay that presents a deliberation about the challenges facing gay and lesbian writers with regard to re-thinking the meaning of sex, sexuality, writing and identity. Though previously published, Keating offers the essay as a means to argue Anzaldúa’s important presence within Queer Theory—an area of inquiry which Keating believes had previously excluded Anzaldúa.
Another highlight, and newly published, is the essay titled “On the Process of Writing Borderlands/La Frontera” where Anzaldúa writes about the exigencies that prompted the writing of her 1987 autobiography. This is an important essay for new readers of Borderlands because it contextualizes much of the complexity of the autobiography. The essay should be significant to scholars who may argue that argumentative and textual gaps appear in her autobiographical text. This section is also important as it contains specific ideas about Anzaldúa’s nationalist development of a “Mestiza Nation,” which she considered a multicultural movement. This section and essay should definitely be of importance to activists and scholars interested in the creation of social movements.
Part 3 of the book continues to expand Anzaldúa’s ideas by presenting a series of images, drawings, and sketches—all of which center her ideas about Nepantla, shapeshifting, border crossing, and identity re-construction—all of which are important elements in Anzaldúa’s explanation of a “mestiza consciousness.” This section emphasizes Anzaldúa’s interest in visual images and art, which remained politicized and historical all throughout her life’s written work. The last part of the reader contains writings that continue to be theoretical in nature and expand her vision about creating and sustaining social change. For example, she writes about the effects of 9/11 and its meaning for both personal and communal healing. She elaborates about the idea of fragmentation, injury, and reinforced racism while explaining such concepts as “conocimiento,” which she defines as the creation of knowledge, experience, and interaction based on compassion. Keating includes a glossary of primary terms and concepts in order to help illuminate the complexity of these four important chronological sections. This glossary is followed by a thorough bibliography with new and previous sources that should be a solid beginning and continuation of Anzaldúan scholarship.
As a whole and as part of a wide range of Anzaldúa’s previously published works, The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader is significant because it presents important ideas about (post)colonization, nationalism, difference, identity (re)construction, sexuality, and coalition-building—all of which continue relevant to Latinas/os living in the United States. The book is a strong introduction and important addition for social justice workers, writers, teachers, and academics. Keating’s editing choices prove that Anzaldúa’s ideas began and continued to be diverse, inclusive, theoretical, and political in nature. This text is an ideal read and classroom text that should continue the conversations about race/ethnicity, gender, and sex/sexuality within Cultural Studies, Chicana/o Studies, Feminist Studies and Queer Studies.
-- Book Review by Hector Carbajal, PhD, Rhetoric and Writing Studies
© Carbajal 2011
© Carbajal 2011
What a great idea…pondering the possibilities for socializing, sharing and learning in LVM! Thank you so much Maria for making LVM one of your favorite sites to visit in SL and for considering how you want to build community in our Second Life space and blog!
LVM has gone through a lot of changes since it’s initial launch back in 2009. The initiative continues to evolve in light of platform changes and resulting impacts to the education community in SL who have worked so hard to raise awareness to the very possibilities even you brought up in your post. Virtual worlds have such great potential for delivering unique learning experiences that combine game play and simulation with real-time communication as strategies for engagement. The 3d version of fb many have said.
Pondering the possibilities is exactly what I did with my colleague Olga Herrera, Latina scholar, back in 2007 as we played with a demo of the Da Vinci Code in 3D. The xbox game version caught our attention as the developers successfully represented the Louvre Museum in 3D. The technology was avatar-game based, a combination of the game CLUE and a scavenger hunt. It was at this juncture that we really thought hmmmm why not explore 3d space for representation and re-interpretation of cultural identity through the experience as an avatar. The virtual world was our oyster to ponder…then we formed a committee and pondered from a higher level. Pondering turned into hard-core research and development and seed money to experiment.
Through many lessons learned and experimentation, LVM emerged out of a single virtual museum model representation in SL into a test bed of possibilities for exploring Latino cultural identity and connecting communities through trans-media experiences. What this means is that we have taken our research, assessment data, and our 3d resources and broadened our horizons exploring other avenues for representation and interpretation using innovative technologies. Working in a multi-user world environment such as Second Life has provided us with a wealth of audience research and outreach opportunities to communities we may have not necessarily reached via a regular web presence. Our goals are simple…summed up in this mantra: Presence, Relevancy & Access. We have to create a presence in the mainstream arena leveraging 21 Century tools and resources to remain relevant to our communities while at the same time working to preserve our cultural heritage and establishing the spaces in which we can connect, share and discover the world around us with our communities. (post by Melissa Carrillo, LVM Creative Director)
More later…Re-affirming Cultural Identity in the Age of the Social Web