Modern and Classical Languages Professor Ricardo F. Vivancos-Pérez has published, as lead editor, the first critical edition of Gloria Anzaldúa’s iconic book Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Co-edited with Norma Elia Cantú and just released by Aunt Lute Books, the volume features an afterword by AnaLouise Keating and is now widely available for purchase in paperback.
Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa (1942-2004) was a Tejana Chicana queer feminist visionary spiritual activist, poet, philosopher, and fiction writer from South Texas. In addition to authoring Borderlands/La Frontera (Aunt Lute, 1987), she was the editor of the critical anthology Making Face/Making Soul: Haciendo Caras (Aunt Lute, 1990) and co-editor, with Cherríe Moraga, of the groundbreaking anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (Persephone, 1981). Her works also include Interviews/Entrevistas (Routledge, 2000) and This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation, co-edited with AnaLouise Keating (Routledge, 2002). She also authored three bilingual children’s books, and taught Creative Writing, Chicano Studies, and Feminist Studies at University of Texas, San Francisco State University, Vermont College of Norwich University, and University of California Santa Cruz.
As Dr. Vivancos-Pérez explains in the introductory essay, “Borderlands was published in September 1987 after an organic composition process that included interrelating prose and poetry, amalgamating personal memories with a philosophical search for a consciousness-raising and coalition-building method for the oppressed, and blending notions from many different fields of knowledge—spirituality, psychology, Aztec cosmology, history, gender, sexuality, anthropology, sociology, and linguistics, among others. Conceptually innovative, experimental, rebellious, and truly interdisciplinary in nature, Borderlands is a distinctive and prominent creative work and a visionary and spiritual guidebook to heal and empower Chicanxs, queer communities of color, and other marginalized subjects navigating their own fraught border landscapes, physical or otherwise” (19-20).
This critical edition elucidates Anzaldúa’s complex composition process and its centrality in the development of her philosophy. Vivancos-Pérez contextualizes the book within her theories and writings before and after its 1987 publication. It opens with two introductory studies; offers a corrected text, explanatory footnotes, translations, and four archival appendices; and closes with an updated bibliography of Anzaldúa’s works, an extensive scholarly bibliography on Borderlands, and her brief biography.
Dr. Vivancos-Pérez conceived of this critical edition in the fall of 2008, while visiting for the first time the Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa Papers at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin: “At the time, I was writing my book, Radical Chicana Poetics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), and my plan was to investigate the process of writing Borderlands. The manuscript of Anzaldúa’s essay ‘On the Process of Writing Borderlands/La Frontera,’ held at the archives and not published until 2009, served as a point of departure.” Vivancos-Pérez is the author of all the archival research and the review of all the scholarly work included in the footnotes, some of the translations, the sections “About This Critical Edition” and “About the Appendices”, and the two comprehensive bibliographies at the end of the edition.
“Ricardo F. Vivancos-Pérez’s meticulous archival work and Norma Elia Cantú’s life experience and expertise converge to offer a stunning resource for Anzaldúa scholars; for writers, artivists, and activists inspired by her work; and for everyone. Hereafter, no study of Borderlands will be complete without this beautiful, essential reference.” — Paola Bacchetta, Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies, UC Berkeley “Editor Vivancos-Pérez takes you by the hand in this straight-forward, well-crafted edition as he reviews archival documents, including unpublished poetry and essays. The original documents, published with notations by Anzaldúa, add flavor, temperament, and in-depth insight into the complex philosopher’s early writings. Vivancos-Pérez offers a detailed introduction, along with tables, describing the eminent author’s process of writing Borderlands, which underwent varied iterations. Four appendices of complete drafts and two renewed bibliographies, one of which lists over 260 scholarly publications on the ground-breaking, innovative Borderlands/La Frontera, will enhance fresh research. Scholars, students, family, soul-mates, and friends of Anzaldúa (I include myself among the many) will be thrilled with this long-awaited, noteworthy, critical edition.” — Emma Pérez, Professor at the University of Arizona and author of The Decolonial Imaginary: Writing Chicanas into History, and novels: Gulf Dreams; Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory; and Electra’s Complex.
September 14, 2021