Partial Visions of Patriarchy and Fragmented Subjectivity:
Chicana Feminism Amidst Anti-Hegemonic Discourse

Amanda Nolacea Harris

My Brother's Sex Was White.
Mine, Brown
——Cherríe Moraga, Loving in the War Years.

[1] In their 1981 introduction to This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color—the landmark book for the emergence of "women of color" and "U.S. Third World Women" as a political group identity—Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa state that their reasons behind the book are directly related to the "elitist and racist practices" that white feminist organizations "refused to address" (lii). In their book proposal they lay out their goals for the future of feminism, goals that have come to mark a shift in Chicana feminism's generational development, and a crisis in white feminism.

[2] In April, 1979, we wrote:

We want to express to all women—especially to white middle-class women—the experiences which divide us as feminists; we want to examine incidents of intolerance, prejudice and denial of differences within the feminist movement. We intend to explore the causes and sources of, and solutions to these divisions. We want to create a definition that expands what "feminist" means to us. (lii)

The question of the definition of "feminism" is a generational question that has everything to do with the relationship of second-wave feminism to women of color. When approaching Chicana Feminism and Western Feminism from a generational point of view, their historical co-existence, their interaction, their theoretical and practical commonalities, and their institutional roles in academe tempt us to fit them into one chronology. Chronologies, however, rely upon values and structures specific to the unifying factors that define whatever is being chronicled. Although Chicana feminism comes into being as an interior concern of the Chicano movement in the midst of the Women's movement (second-wave feminism), its development does not adhere to that of the feminist "waves"—the generations shared by the Euro and U.S. feminists. The social, historical, and traditional factors that define Chicanas as a political-ethnic identity group differ from the defining factors of Western feminism, and the resulting picture of generational development sketches itself out in a very different way. In fact, Chicana feminist thought goes through qualitative generational changes related to their exclusion from Western feminism along lines of race, class, and history. [1] The troubled historical conversation among Feminists, Marxists, and ethnic nationalists reflects the blindspots of each of these anti-hegemonic platforms inside and outside of the academy, and has resulted in an entrenched mutual distrust, and a fragmentary or partial grasp of the roots of oppression, and an evasive potential for unfragmented identity for women of color. I aim to provide the necessary elements and tools for a more complete and functional definition of patriarchy that demonstrates how both the Chicano Movement and Second Wave Feminism are addressing different faces of the same power structure. The exploration of this redefinition facilitates an unfragmented approach to the understanding of Chicana feminism and feminism from dominated cultures in general, and in turn restores the possibility of an unfragmented subjectivity.

Feminism's Western-ness

[3] Given that the West always inscribes its Others into its own history, the "third-wave" and various other post-Women's-Movement feminist epistemological platforms [2] look to retrospectively include or add Chicana texts into their genealogies. But their efforts are not only Western appropriations of the Other, they are necessary responses to the crisis of Western feminism spurred by its inner contradictions that are exposed, in large part, by non-white feminists. Because Chicanas are women, they deal with patriarchy and power along the lines of gender and sexuality as does the Women's movement. We can observe this common ground in the use of Foremothers, the preoccupation with female agency, subjectivity, voice, the socio-symbolic contract, and the rejection of patriarchal primal scenes like the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, or similar pre-Columbian patriarchal myths. For Chicanas, though, all of these issues are also raced and classed, and could be directed as exclusively race and class criticisms of white feminism.

[4] Paula Moya, in her essay "Chicana Feminism and Postmodernist Theory," writes a historical summary of the emergence and development of Chicana feminism from the sixties through the eighties. She explains that while in the 1970s some Chicanas began to work with the women's liberation movement, most remained with the Chicano movimiento for as long as the organizations were viable. She attributes the lack of long-term coalitions to white feminists' "insisting on the primacy of gender oppression" and their disregard and reproduction of class- and race-based oppression (449). Consequently, explains Moya, "Chicanas joined African American feminism, Asian American, Latina, and other 'third-world' feminists in a variety of efforts to challenge both the racism of Anglo American feminism and the sexism of ethnic nationalist movements" to create the new political identity, "women of color." Moya's narrative of the generational shift from Chicana to "women of color" or "third world women in the US" explains the historic specificity of the naissance of a political identity that has been anachronically used to refer to pre-coalition Chicana feminists and other non-white feminists of ethnic nationalist traditions. This narrative clarifies the relationship at hand and provides a parallel to the recent chronologies of feminism that attempt to weave all anti-oppression movements by women into the specifically Western and middle-class epistemology of feminism.

[5] In the critical introduction to Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century Misha Kavka questions the nostalgic clarity of contemporary feminists theorists towards the second-wave and cites the "long eighties" as the period "that has had the effect of splintering what had been a recognizable feminist project into unrecognizability" (viv). During this period (which marks the dissolution of the second wave) work on behalf of "women" as the common object of feminism "has been exposed as a normatizing concept that performs a range of exclusions at the levels of class, race, ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality" (x). Kavka argues that second-wavefeminism was never a coherent project, but rather "a fantasy of commonality" that "was problematized from the outset by disagreement between those (Marxist and Materialist feminists) who strove for radical equality, or the goal of ultimately erasing the social effects of sex difference, and those (radical American feminists as well as the French theorists of 'écriture feminine') who strove for radical difference" (x). But despite the lack of originary coherence, mainstream feminists (including Kavka) could at one time use the term "we." Although Kavka pokes fun at the illusion of cohesion, she does belie her platform when she refers to the second wave as the "hey day" of feminism, and when she seeks to redefine "feminism" as "an umbrella term for an ever-growing range of political projects and endeavors, themselves driven on the one hand by the tendency of feminist work to create debates and on the other hand by the capacity of social forms to retrench, always with a difference, the very constraining conditions that the second wave strove to thematize and transform" (xi-xii).

[6] Her redefinition attempts to re-group a sense of "we" in the face of the dissolution of the second wave and the resultant designation of "post-feminism"—in all of its varying implications—to the generation following the secondwavers. Kavka contends that "post" happened because we were engaged in feminism, not as a marker of the end of feminism. Kavka puts the generational transition between the second-wave and post-feminism or the third wave "sometime between the late 1970s and the early 1990s," when "an important shift happened, a shift from explaining women's subordination in terms of a single constraining system, [...] to focusing on the discursive, material, and cultural differences that make up the being or becoming of women" (xiii). Referring to This Bridge Called my Back, and the Third World feminist works of the long eighties, Kavka explains:

Criticism by feminists of color found early articulation in the United States when African American, Latina, Native American, and Asian American women denounced the second-wavefeminist category of "women" as pertaining only to white, middle-class, Western women to whom the concerns and bodies of non-white women were invisible. [...] If, as these grounding volumes show, the effects and functions of race, ethnicity, and class cannot be separated from those of gender, then this makes for unstable coalitions under the umbrella term of feminism. (xiv)

Kavka posits third-world feminism and post-structuralist feminism as the primary catalyst for feminism's fragmentation:

This shift from systemic approaches to the passionate and sometimes agonized proliferation of difference(s) was largely the consequence of two discourses, critiques by feminists of color and by poststructuralists [...] The end effect of these two discourses is the same—to deconstruct the category of "woman" as indicative of common identity. (xiii)

This difference is crucial to our study because it shows the simultaneous manifestations of the breaking open of authority and objective discourse, but in the feminist realm. This fact alone is enough to demonstrate that feminism does wield the same exclusionary power and Western narcissistic pretenses to objectivity that Patriarchal discourses do. On the one hand, ethnic women deconstruct the category "women" by exposing that feminism uses the term "woman" to refer specifically to white women, and thereby universalizes itself. Barbara Smith and bell hooks (borrowing from Sojourner Truth) make this argument when stating that "all women are white and all blacks are men" and by asking "ain't I a woman?" respectively. On the other hand, post-structuralist or postmodern feminist deconstruct the category of "women" by questioning identity and asserting that discursivity and performativity have more to do with the production of "womanhood" than biology, therein negating any essence or absolute reality as identity. Kavka cites Judith Butler as an example of this branch of feminism, and concludes (from the perspective of the center) that "both post-structuralism and the critiques of white feminism by feminists of color have shown that we can't say 'we' without a self-consciousness attention to the essentializing and exclusionary resonances of a pronoun that can never hope to specify and contextualize the particularity of all its referents" (xiv).

[7] Nevertheless Kavka and her co-editor, Elisabeth Bronfen mourn the loss of the unselfconscious "we" while also celebrating the plurality that has come of it. What is clear is their concern with the fragility of an undefinible tradition in the face of the political need for a common platform. Like Moya's reading of Norma Alarcón's post-structuralist theory for Chicana subjectivity (which we will explore in detail later) the polemic of fragmentation dominates the frustration surrounding the post-movements era. The heart of this fragmentation and the real obstacle of anti-hegemonic theory and practice is the inability to see the raced and classed aspects of Patriarchy, and the focus on only one line of oppression.

[8] Feminism in the Americas has not traditionally addressed that Colombus emplotted race according to conventional Western gender roles from the moment that he gazed upon the naked bodies of the people of Guanahani. Race and class have not formed part of Feminism's foundational concerns. The written culture itself, given its historical introduction into the Americas as an instrument of domination, has been at the root of the objectification, de-humanization, oppression, and destruction of indigenous people in the Americas for over five hundred years. Given the patriarchal and symbolic nature of the writings of Conquest from the fifteenth century to the present, the figure of the native woman (indigenous during the Spanish Conquest, and mestiza or criolla during independence and the U.S. wars of expansion [3]) has traditionally represented the land and people that are the object of the imperial and colonial gaze. While Second-Wavers like Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar deal with the objectification of their sex in written discourse, the Chicana author/subject faces that same issue in addition to the precedent of her presence in written culture as an objectified symbolic representation of coveted possessions. As Michel de Certeau articulates when analyzing Jan van der Streat's sixteenth-century allegorical etching America by way of addressing Western imperial writing in general, "the conqueror will write the body of the other and trace there his own history. From her he will make a historied body—a blazon—of his labors and phantasms. She will be 'Latin' America" (de Certeau xxv). Effectively, the patriarch-writer of the Western tradition defines himself by acting as Adam in the face of the Other, and thereby incorporating all Others into his written, linear self-concept—a specific self-concept that has been universalized, and is commonly known as History.

[9] Chicano nationalists and white feminists alike are responsible for the fragmentation of their respective movements and for the fragmentation of Chicana selfhood, although in different ways. If the ethnic nationalists recognize the patriarchal-ness of white domination, the focus of the revolution would indeed allow for inclusivity and wholeness. In drawing upon the Mexican nation-state and its dominant cultural forms (mestizaje, Aztec imperial exaltation, José Vasconcelos, Diego Rivera, etc.) the Chicano nationalists only address the top layer of colonization and exploitation—the United States—and fail to recognize the racism and classism of the symbolic Fathers of Mexican culture (be he white criollo, Conquistador, or Aztec emperor). Although the agenda aims, in part, to preserve culture in resistance to white-US-led capitalism, it does not relate that hegemony to its historical sources in the Hispanic colonial legacy (evident in the appropriation of Columbus by U.S. institutions since the nineteenth century, for example).

[10] On the converse, if white feminists acknowledge the whiteness of patriarchy, their focus too could avoid fragmentation. Although their libratory focus is the destruction of their own cultural tradition (patriarchy) as opposed to the Chicano preservation agenda, they do not tie their exploitation and their privilege to Western patriarchy's historical expansionism and class-based societal organization beyond material feminism's recognition of the biological underclassing of women.

[11] The structural metaphor in Cherríe Moraga's 1983 statement at the opening of this paper articulates a consciousness of the intrinsic connectedness of sexism to racism embedded in patriarchy. [4] One need not go further than to recall the relationship among writing, patriarchy, and empire—Spanish, Aztec, U.S., or Neoliberal—to observe that classed exploitation and sexed exploitation function as wheels on the same cart; and that in the context of the Americas (as with any colonial or postcolonial nation-state) race has functioned as a determinant of class and as the materially distinguishable ideological justification for dispossession, murder, and exploitation across gender lines. Much more efficient, permanent, and organic than the orange prison suit, race has been utilized as a mark on the bodies of the dispossessible, exploitable, and otherwise disposable segments of the population in the Americas. Although in a racially homogenous context gender marks difference and exploitability while class is naturalized through other mechanisms such as gendering, once that culture expands onto another, the new marks of difference (like skin color or language) become the material base for the construction of an ideology and practice of classing. In a racially constructed class-based society such as the U.S. or Mexico, women also exploit each other along the lines established by patriarchy. Patriarchy in the Americas, Alicia Gaspar de Alba points out, is not just a system of gender-based exploitation. In her 2005 essay, "Malinche's Revenge," she reminds us that,

[i]f we break the word down, we get Patri, or father, and Archy, or supremacy; thus patriarchy is a social organization based upon the supremacy of the Father. In a patriarchal social order, those who are like the Father—that is, male, but especially white, rich, heterosexual males—are privileged over those who are unlike the Father—that is female, non-white, non-rich, non-heterosexual. (49)

The word patriarchy, if attended to as it has played out in the sites of Western expansion, should not just denote gender, but also sexuality, race, class, and ethnicity (the term is not homo-archy, it is patriarchy). Since the racial, gender, and class norm of the father in the nation-state context has been naturalized to the degree of invisibility, we often overlook the fact that the founding fathers of the United States were not only reproductive men, but also land-owners, slave holders and traders, and white Anglos. Because of the popular and academic mis-use of the concept of patriarchy as a gender-based structure of domination, I will use the term "verticality" when referring to the all-encompassing definition of patriarchy as laid-out by Gaspar de Alba. Put simply, vertical cultures (such as any urban or imperial society) construct and sustain themselves upon the exploitation of segments of the population that possess traits (be they biological, linguistic, geographic, or otherwise materially observable) which are then socialized and imbued with meaning that permits their exploitation. In the case of patriarchy in the Americas—as is the case with first-world expansion onto any indigenous culture—the ethnic, racial, and class aspects of the father are just as salient as the gender and sexual ones.

[12] The consciousness of vertical cultural ideology refocuses contestatory agendas and establishes a platform for solidarity and collaboration among critical positions that may otherwise seem irreconcilable, such as the historic rift between Marxism and feminism. Recognizing that "when we speak of Machismo, we immediately refer to a division of power between male and female, between a world power and a colonized nation," in the words of Ana Castillo (Massacre 82), forces us to acknowledge the theoretical oversights of traditional anti-hegemonic discourses. The inability to see the connection has been the source of fragmentation and exclusion among anti-hegemonic movements from the outset.

[13] The inability to see the connection of race and class to gender perpetuates the fracturing and alienation among anti-hegemonic voices that each address one isolated aspect of patriarchy: Chicano nationalism addresses race and class, white feminism addresses gender, Marxism addresses class, etc. The Chicana feminist, versed in anti-racist discourse, class-conscious discourse, and feminist discourse, becomes subject to an internal fragmentation that complicates identity, subjectivity, political potency, and self-determination—a problem that Chela Sandoval, Norma Alarcón, and Paula Moya address, but do not consider to be an erroneous focus. The real issue is not about how to exist coherently amidst the multiple subject positions imposed upon Chicanas, but rather how to show that those subject positions (despite their historic and political incompatibility) are in fact all addressing the same thing: the white, dispossessing, Anglo, exploitative, heterosexual father.

Reviving the Subject

[14] The self-consciousness that Kavka describes surrounding the pronoun "we" and any other such concepts that imply a female essence or an idealized feminist subject becomes a major obstacle to politically committed feminist-activists. Although Kavka describes the issue from the position of a white feminist whose movement has been tried and deconstructed, the women-of-color feminists who contributed to the dismantling of the ethno-universalist term "woman" parallel her awareness of this issue, but in a more complex way. On the one hand, destroying the identifiable one-ness of "women" in order to hold second-wave feminists responsible to their own racism is a necessary means of access to discourse for Chicanas and other women-of-color feminists. On the other hand, such criticism also destroys the platform. Norma Alarcón, Chela Sandoval, and Paula Moya all address this crisis of referent that Kavka calls post-structuralist and Moya calls post-modernist, and all three have shown a tried and true commitment to the well-being of women of color through their work, writing, activism, and teaching. While Sandoval and Alarcón take a post-modernist strategy to theorizing Chicana subjectivity (and therein, agency), Moya critiques them from a realist perspective stating that their theories do not adequately account for reality, nor do they allow for political cohesion because of their characteristically post-modern negation of truth claims, epistemology, and identity. We will summarize each theory as well as Moya's realist critique, and then move on to addressing the issues that they discuss in the light of the identification of all of the faces of patriarchy. Lastly, I attempt to show that Moya's insistence on the "progressive" agenda and women-of-color feminists' contributions to "progressive politics" is the pitfall that allows her achievements to be assimilated by the dominant culture, and thereby become reformist instruments that fortify the existing structures. Given the turbid ideological and historical development of the concept of "progressive," which is tied directly to manifest destiny, positivism, and institutional reformism, Moya—by inscribing her argument into "social progress"—effectively commits what Norma Alarcón warns us of at the end of her "Traddutora Traditora" when she asks of postmodern feminist theories, "Do they free women of color from the 'service of violence against themselves,' or do they just rationalize it well?" (294).

[15] Alarcón explains, in her 1990 criticism of Anglo-American feminism's appropriation of womanhood and of This Bridge Called my Back, that Western feminism fragments non-white womanhood by subsuming race, class and ethnicity as categories second to gender when analyzing oppression ("Theoretical Subjects" 32). She explains that the rejection of the symbolic contract of language and the emphasis of sexual difference practiced by second-wave feminism is based on a binary model of counter-identification in which the white male is the mirror, and the binarism is thus inadequate. According to Alarcón, "this gendered standpoint epistemology leads to feminism's bizarre relationship with other liberation movements, working inherently against the interests of nonwhite women and no one else" (30), and fails to recognize that in "cultures in which asymmetric race and class relations are a central organizing principle of society, one may also 'become a woman' in opposition to other women" (33). Paula Moya explains that Alarcón rejects binary and oppositional thinking and "turns instead to postmodernist feminism's explicit deconstruction of binary oppositions and rejection of a feminine 'essence' in the belief that it is better suited to theorizing the experiences of non-white women" and thus "conceptualizes the self as being 'produced' through discourse" (450).

[16] Moya goes on to summarize Alarcón's more recent work in which she states that "women of color are always already positioned cross-culturally and within contradictory discourses" (qtd. in Moya 450). Moya takes issue with Alarcón's de-centered and rootless model for Chicana subjectivity and critiques the relativist character of her theory. The relativism, observes Moya, leads to an articulation of Chicana identity that is contingent on the incompatibility of discourses and the inability of grounds for judgement. Moya describes Alarcón's theory as follows:

Chicanas are produced by Chicano nationalist discourse as racially marked, undifferentiated (and male-identified) "members of a community" and by capitalist discourse as individuals who sell their labor in exchange for wages. When we factor in other discourses that Chicanas are likely to be "subjected to"—such as the discourse of Anglo American liberal feminism that would produce Chicanas as female-gendered (and implicitly white) individual subjects of consciousness—we can better understand why Alarcón conceives of Chicana subjectivity as multiple and contradictory. Her key point is that the different discourses that produce Chicana subjectivity intersect in ways that preclude Chicanas from being produced as unified coherent subjects. [...] When Alarcón regards the discourses that constitute Chicanas as arguments of two parties in conflict and claims that "one side's legitimacy does not imply the other's lack of legitimacy," she skates on the edge of relativism by disqualifying any possible means of adjudicating the claims of the disputants. (451)

Moya is arguing that Alarcón takes the postmodern platform of relativism to an internal level that frames Chicana identity in a way that disables the ability to make judgments and to acknowledge its own epistemology. Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah provides a basic model of the tenets of cultural relativism that facilitate social existence in global-multicultural context characteristic of late capitalism. His outline serves us to better understand Moya's critique. Cultural relativism implies:

1) That cultures or societies may have their own distinctive systems of morality and social practices;

2) That these systems are right for those cultures or societies in terms of their own contexts and their own functional interrelations; and

3) That, therefore, it is a mistake to pass critical judgments of better or worse on a comparative basis between them, since each is acceptable in its own place. (128)

This seemingly open and horizontal stance is fraught with internal contradictions and inherently hegemonic in an unacknowledged way. Tambiah—not unlike Moya—reveals the hidden structure of relativism, calling attention to the fact that "proposition 3 contains a logical contradiction in that it makes a non-relativistic claim about a relativistic assertion: ... there is here 'an unhappy attachment of a non-relative morality of toleration or non-interference to a view of morality as relative'" (Tambiah 128). The relativistic position, which deems it "wrong" or impossible to pass judgment given the cultural contextual specificity of value systems and discourses, is in fact a cultural value; it is a cultural value that allows for no truth claims or condemnation of harmful and hegemonic cultural practices. The relativism does more harm than good because its purported horizontalness is politically disarming and is not horizontal at all, but rather a veiled manifestation of a particular cultural value that goes unacknowledged. To this effect, Moya explains that Alarcón's relativist-pragmatist approach, which is anchored in Lyotard's differend, causes her, the "postmodernist or pragmatist," to be "forced inevitably into a position of epistemological denial from which she is unable to question or revise her conception of truth or justice because her theoretical framework will not allow her to admit that she has one" should she ever want to make a truth claim of judgment about social wrong and right (478). Moya disapproves of the conformity to internal relativism because it "threatens to undermine the grounds for a normative Chicana feminist criticism by opening the possibility that there will be no adequate means for deciding between, for example, feminist and sexist discourse" (451). While making the same critique of Sandoval, she notes that Alarcón and Sandoval alike do practice what she qualifies as "realist questioning of themselves and the world around them" despite the postmodernity of their theories, because to do so is necessary for effecting social change (478).

[17] The next step of Moya's critique asserts that Alarcón wrongly characterizes the discourses at hand as "always" irreconcilable. She rightly concludes that "by assuming that conflicting discourses are inherently contradictory, Alarcón idealizes each discourse in a matter that implicitly suggests that each is internally consistent and coherent [...] and that each is stable, fixed, and incapable of change as it comes into contact with other discourses" (452). In this way, according to Moya, Alarcón "effectively replaces an essentialism of the subject with and essentialism of the discourse." Should we extend Moya's critique to postmodern theories of identity more generally, we can identify the shift from specific material (observable, verifiable) sources of identity (ie. the body of the subject) to intangible, multiple, simultaneous sources that lie beyond the reach of a given subject. The elements external to the subject are seen as determinants of identity while the subject is characterized as an empty vessel or a coincidence of flesh. This shift, alarming and disarming because of the way that it takes away our access to ourselves as sources of identity and puts self-hood in the hands of moving and unstable sources out of our control, is characteristic of the transition from the consciousness movements (and their essentialism) to the post-movements (and the deconstruction of political organizational theories). In this sense I share Moya's dismay and support the creation of ideas that can overcome the problem at hand.

[18] The section of Moya's article dedicated to Chela Sandoval explains Sandoval's theory of "differential consciousness" and highlights the epistemological denial therein. In general terms, Sandoval identifies four separate modes of consciousness and resistance present in U.S. third-world-feminism (equal rights, revolutionary, supremacist, and separatist) and a fifth mode, "differential consciousness [which] involves switching among the other four sites as the conditions of oppression or the shape of power changes" (Moya 460-461). Sandoval argues that this "differential" strategy for survival, which third-world feminists have mastered by necessity, is now available to "all first world citizens" who find themselves "caught in the crisis of late capitalist conditions" because most first world peoples now live in the same fragmenting conditions traditionally experienced by marginal subjects (196 n.51) Sandoval's model, similar to Alarcón's, requires the tactical suppression, temporary emphasis, or context specific privileging of one identity "according to the requisites of another oppositional ideological tactic if readings of power's formation require it" (60). It also requires giving up a notion of a unified self. Moya posits Cherríe Moraga as proof that women-of-color feminists are not committed to "shattering of the unitary self" as Sandoval states, and quotes Moraga's "refusal to split" (Moya 476). When considering the tradition of Sor Juana, the refusal to split can be identified as foundational to Chicana Feminist thought.

[19] Sandoval explains that enacting differential consciousness is "imperative for the psychological and political practices that permit the achievement of coalition across difference" (15). Moya critiques Sandoval's assertion of identity mobility as a misrepresentation of her practice in that she continually refers to the group "U.S. third-word feminists" and necessitates a high level of political self-consciousness despite her negation of epistemology. Also, she points to the overriding ideology/identity that depresses the "clutch" between ideologies in Sandoval's car metaphor. "If," Moya states, "U.S. third-world feminists are perfectly self-conscious about what they are doing—if they know that their alliance with any one group is strategic and temporary—then they are working from within an ideology of flux [my emphasis] and cannot be said to be shifting ideologies. As Sandoval herself describes it, differential consciousness implies its own overriding ideology" (464). Moya's observation cleverly identifies the unacknowledged epistemology in Sandoval. I would add to her observation that the "coalitions" that Sandoval describes as necessary for liberation are in fact precarious and invalidated by the very model through which she makes them because they are tactical and because you cannot make a coalition with someone that switches identities constantly. Coalitions require trust, commitment, and relative stability.

[20] Moya commends Sandoval for the agency and political self-consciousness that she attributes to third-world feminists. She also finds that "the beautiful audacity of Sandoval's project is precisely this: the heretofore lowly and despised U.S. third-world feminist is at the forefront—political and theoretical—of present day progressive politics" (463). Articulating the import of third-world feminism as contingent upon a relativism, and denying all truth claims, however, weakens the assertion and leaves room for critiquing a certain degree of hypocrisy. Moya states that "One meta-narrative is thus replaced by another; one conception of truth is dismissed in favor of one that cannot be acknowledged" (465).

[21] Given her political commitments and consciousness, Moya adamantly adheres to the need for truth claims. She explains the postmodernist aversion to them as follows:

It seems to me that the call by some critics for a "pragmatist" feminist theory is at least partially motivated by the desire to avoid the positivist versions of truth and objectivity that postmodernists have long attributed to all epistemological projects. These feminists do not want to risk the possibility of making theoretically dogmatic truth claims that might turn out to have oppressive effects. (477)

She points to places in both Alarcón and Sandoval in which, despite their commitment to postmodernism and surface negations of truth claims, they both make judgments about hegemonic feminism's systematic "wrongful oppression and exploitation" of people of color (466). This leads them to a sort of strategic essentialism that belies their theoretical claims. Instead of shifting ideologies for strategic purposes, Moya believes that shifts really result from learning. "I contend," writes Moya, "that when women of color such as Moraga change ideologies and identities, they are motivated by genuine concern for truth and the hope of creating an objectively better world" (476).

[22] Moya proposes a realist model of Chicana feminist identity that evolves according to experience and makes assertions about right and wrong. Instead of jumping around among partially oppressive ideologies of liberation, Moya's Chicana is eclectic and centered. Unlike Alarcón's essentializing of discourses, Moya accounts for the change and development of discourses over the last thirty years, and states that "it is quite natural today to speak of a Chicana feminism that incorporates key precepts from each [discourse]" (452). The example and theory that Moya provides for her point, however, reveals the fact that she herself is failing to acknowledge the subjective core implicit in her approach, which makes it vulnerable to critique not unlike her analysis of relativism in post-modernist women-of-color feminists. Additionally, the post-positivist realist theory that she provides to support the possibility of subject-centered identity construction is anchored in an unmentioned Western scientific platform and employs an objectivity that has historically been used to the detriment of people from dominated cultures. Let us first attend her illustration, and then her theory.

A heterosexual Chicana with feminist convictions, for example, may have to defend her resolution not to take her husband's name in a familial context and justify her decision not to take a better paying job in a community away from her extended family in a feminist one, but she is a Chicana feminist in both contexts. (452)

Moya uses an example that is very similar to Alarcón's description of the capitalist vs. the Chicano nationalist constructions of Chicanas in which the nationalists "produce" them as mothers and means of cultural preservation while capitalism produces them as an "individuals who sell their labor in exchange for wages" (Moya 451). The centeredness of Moya's Chicana subject, however, remains without theoretical ground because she does not provide a contextually-immune center for the realist-derived subjectivity that she seeks to theorize. To do so would require questioning the viability of the competing discourses (Anglo-American feminism, Chicano Nationalism) as critically sound platforms. Despite the similarity of her example to Alarcón's allusion to capitalism, Moya does not identify 1) that the feminist agenda that she invokes supports capitalist exploitation, and 2) that there is a connection between the two discourses that can be found in the historical reliance of capitalism in the Americas on multi-faceted patriarchy. Instead, Moya provides a realist model of identity that allows for discourses to improve and incorporate error in an empirical or experiential way. A Chicana can weigh discourses as better or worse by "how well they work as explanations or descriptions of the social and natural world from which they emerge, [and] by how well they 'refer' to verifiable aspects of the world they claim to describe" (468). The agency that Moya attributes to the Chicana subject here is remarkable, but the grounding of its evaluative capacity remains unexplained. She does not tell us how or where this eclectic and coherent Chicana emerges as a subject that is able to make critical choices about discourses.

[23] Moya's position may be due to fact that she does not incorporate the community element of the creation of objectivity that post-positivist realism articulates. If we refer to Satya Mohanty's model, which I discussed in the introduction, we can see how the formation of an objective discourse upon which to stand and better theorize one's oppression, identity, and thus liberation, is derived from community affirmation. Moya's understanding of the role of community is evident in her narrative of the process of Chicana feminism to women-of-color feminism in the late seventies and early eighties. She does not, however, apply the community logic to her realist theory of individual identity formation. This results in something not unlike a scale with no central axis to support the up-and-down movement of the plates as they settle.)

[24] She does assert, however, that identity formation stems from social location, and that identities "are politically and epistemically significant because they can trace the links between individuals and groups and the central organizing principles in society" (467). She goes on to explain that the most basic contention of the post-positivist realist theory of identity is that "identities are both constructed and real":

... constructed because they are based on interpreted experience and on theories that explain the social and natural world, but they are also real because they refer outward to causally significant features in the world. Identities are thus context-specific ideological constructs, even though they may refer in non-arbitrary ways to verifiable characteristics such as skin color, physiognomy, anatomical sex, and socioeconomic status. ... [A]n individual's social location (the particular nexus of race, class, gender, and sexuality in which she exists in the world) is causally relevant for the experiences that she will have and that individual's experiences will influence, although not determine, the formation of her social identity ... [which in turn] provides people with frameworks (the epistemic value of which varies widely) for interpreting their experiences. (468)

This account of identity, related to the central organizing structures of society, fails to explain how one can form an identity in relation to "central organizing principles in society" when her lenses for perceiving a central organizing social structure are multiple due to the discursive separation of the "verifiable characteristics such as skin color, physiognomy, anatomical sex, and sexuality" that generate identities and ideologies through which to understand the world. Moya writes that "Within a realist framework, oppositional ideologies (and the identities they engender) are more than sites of political and theoretical resistance to be pragmatically or strategically occupied or abandoned. Rather, they are the ways in which individuals or groups perceive, interpret, and interact with the world around them" (472). The oppositional ideologies that she refers to as examples throughout her article, Anglo feminism and ethnic nationalism, are tied to "verifiable characteristics." If each verifiable characteristic is attached to a social location because of the meaning attributed to it by the oppressive ideology, then each characteristic is linked to a discursive ideology or identity. In this framework, any person with more than just a sexuality, for example,—i.e. any person embodied at all, because bodies in the world have skin color, anatomical sex, and social class—can never have a social location or identity; because if each verifiable characteristic has to do with a resultant and generative social location, then only artificially extractable facets of each person can have a social location. Clearly we cannot separate the verifiable characteristics of our bodies in the way that the transparent film of an anatomy book does. The only people who can have a social location and thus an identity, are those whose verifiable characteristics are naturalized and thus invisible—those who fit the universalized dominant concept of humanness. Anglo feminism, for example, comes out of the verifiable characteristics "anatomical sex" or "sexuality" because whiteness and middle-class status are the ideological neutrals or universals to feminist theory and dominant culture. "Anatomical sex" or "sexuality" can thus be isolated as the "verifiable characteristics" that influence social location.

[25] We return to the question of Moya's coherent Chicana who can evaluate what parts of each identity from the menu of multiplicity to incorporate into her own. Who is she in the first place? Which verifiable characteristic is the organizing element? They must not be horizontal and relativistic because that would not allow for the ability to judge. To answer this question, we will examine the foundations of Moya's post-positivist realist framework. In a post-positive realist framework, "ideologies and identities, [are] evaluated for logical consistency, and tested empirically against the world they claim to describe" (472). The empirical approach, rooted in classic Western scientific methodology, particularly Aristotelian philosophy and the (European) Enlightenment, that Moya enacts requires the ability to objectify the "objects of study"—be they bacteria, fleas, love, or in this case, identities and their discourses. In order to objectify something and view it scientifically, one must conceive of it as separate from the self.

[26] Once it is understood as an object, it is subjected to a hypothesis and an experiment/experience. Then the experimenter can form objective knowledge (one of the major goals of post-positivist realist theory) based on that experience. Implicit here is the pre-existence of a self that can then, in turn, construct its identity. Moya does not acknowledge that the evaluative Chicana self implicit in her argument is in fact the Western experimenter.

[27] Additionally, this model of evaluation requires the Chicana to objectify each discourse-identity pair, and in order to objectify an identity she cannot situate herself within it. In Moya's words,

... [T]o the extent to which the identity she claims accurately describes the complex interactions between the multiple determinants of her particular social location, that ideology or identity will be epistemically (not just strategically) justified—it will constitute "objective" and reliable knowledge. (472)

This version of an empirical approach necessitates that a Chicana simultaneously occupy the space of subject and object, experimenter and experiment. She must be cold and calculating, and willing to fragment not only herself, but the identities of others. The coherence that Moya gives her can only be achieved if she is to take the Western objective position and dissect herself, viewing the (oppositional) identities within her as objects from which to choose or cast aside in the learning process. Thus the (patriarchal) Western culture within her becomes the organizational core of her identity construction; it is the only possible platform upon which she can look at ethnic nationalism, feminism, or Marxism as an object. Otherwise, she is just as much a floating subject as Alarcón's Chicana that inhabits the interstices of competing ideologies. Just as with written Western discourse since Conquest and colonization, Moya's empirical approach splits the Chicana subject. Furthermore, the empirical methodology is, and has historically been, oppressive to people from dominated cultures and has only been able to develop in Modern Europe due to its status as the metropolitan beneficiary of colonization in the Americas, Asia, and Africa. [5] In other words, objectivity is the discourse of the empire. [6]

[28] On the one hand Alarcón and Sandoval's Chicanas must weigh their participation in the workplace and their role as mother according to competing discourses of identity as follows: from a feminist stand point, I cannot stay home with the children, but from a community standpoint, I need to preserve culture in the face of Anglo-supremacy. She perceives reality through discourses that only recognize certain faces of oppression in accordance with the factors most salient to their position vis-a-vis the structure (gender to the white feminists, race to the ethnic nationalists). Each solution, like the anti-hegemonic discourse in which it is rooted (white woman, ethnic mother), is partial. Both offer a degree of liberation, but only the liberation of one aspect of the Chicana's identity. And she will not be liberated if only a part of her is liberated at the expense of the suppression of the rest of the whole. On the other hand, Moya's eclectic Chicana can evaluate these discourses from an empirical platform that is the unacknowledged organizational ideology of her subject construction. All three critics, able to stand aloof from the identities related to their social location(s) despite their stake in the issue, resemble consumers in their approach to subjective formation.

[29] The Chicana who weighs discourses also accepts that she can (in Alarcón and Sandoval) jump among the pre-packaged identities strategically, or (in Moya) open the package and take a few things out of each. She constructs her own theory of the world by drawing upon existing ideologies that have proven to be at least partially oppressive. The fact that each discourse only addresses one of the many faces of patriarchy moves her to reason, from a feminist stand point, whether or not to stay home with the children, and from a community standpoint, to preserve culture in the face of Anglo-supremacy. She does not recognize the "central organizing" social structure of multifaceted patriarchy and its historical connection to colonization and capitalism in the Americas. What is missing is the ability to see that the concept of work itself is an imposition from a capitalist nation-state culture that has dispossessed people of any means of sustenance outside of the means through which it benefits and perpetuates itself. Once stripped of the land and the cultural and familial traditions of food production, birth and death rituals, medicine, and language, one has no recourse but to work somewhere and make money in order to buy food, goods, and services. Such a big-picture highlights the connection between gender, race, and class embedded in vertical culture—historically capitalist and patriarchal. Such a consciousness re-integrates the individual anti-hegemonic discourses that each only addresses one of the many faces of patriarchy. This, in turn, allows for an unfragmented Chicana subject because the discourses cease to compete within her. They cease to be separate and multiple, and their common enemy is unveiled. The issue, of course, is that such awareness would necessitate leaving the capitalist, patriarchal nation-state and recuperating/creating a non-modern, non-vertical way of life.

[30] Despite the apparent reluctance of critics to identify this kind of total solution, third-world feminist writers like Anzaldúa, Moraga, and Ana Castillo have been implying it for quite some time. In "Arte en América con Acento," her critique of assimilation and reform, Moraga explicitly states that "We must learn to see ourselves less as U.S. Citizens and more as members of a larger world community composed of many nations of people and no longer give credence to the geopolitical boders that have divided us [....] Call it racial memory. Call it shared economic discrimination. Chicanos call it "Raza,"—be it Quichua, Cubano, or Colombiano—an identity that dissolves borders" (Last Generation 62). She implicitly recognizes the tie between race and economic class in a globalized economy. She refers to "nations" in opposition to nation-states. Further on in the book, Moraga writes. "Increasingly, the struggles on this planet are not for 'nation-states,' but for nations of people, bound together by spirit, land, language, history, and blood" (169). "In our most private moments," she adds, "we ask ourselves If the Soviet Union could dissolve, why can't the United States?" (169)

[31] Moraga's state-less liberation is anchored in her recovery of what she finds to be a globally consistent "mother earth" mythology with pre-patriarchal roots. Understandably, the critic is perched upon the Western institutions themselves and therefore would have nowhere to stand should she want to call for the dismantling of the nation-state. The focus of her criticism is filtered through the lens of her position. But the revival of pre-patriarchal, earth-rooted mythologies and praxis in Moraga do provide a platform since they are pre/non-Western.


[32] Moya recognizes the strategic necessity that Alarcón and Sandoval face, as well as their political commitments. We can all sympathize with the irony in which the dissolution of "essence-" based political organization puts us given that it is necessary for the discursive recognition of our existence, but it simultaneously leaves us with only tenuous claims to truth and community. In Moya's words, we can "appreciate its dismantling of the transcendental subject of reason" but need to "remain committed to an account of subjectivity that allows some form of identity-based (i.e. 'Chicana' or 'women-of-color') agency" (443). This conflict, which leads Sandoval and Alarcón to enact a contradictory strategic essentialism without acknowledging their implicit epistemologies, results from wondering how we can talk about an indisputable reality (of oppression) when we have already acknowledged that discourse and ideology determine our perception of the world?

[33] Moya offers a realist model that accounts for both the subjective perception and the objective reality of the world, and provides a cogent critique of Alarcón's and Sandoval's theorizing of the multiplicity of (competing or irreconcilable) subjective positions present inside Chicanas (ethnic national, feminist, working-class). Her realist approach to identity sets up a theoretical framework for dialogue between an objective structural reality and the subjective positions, allowing for truth claims regarding injustice. Her ideas do address the postmodern problem of radical constructedness and precarious political coherence, but she does not acknowledge her own Western epistemology. She does not consider the possibility that the multiplicity of discourses itself is a problem of perception created by the Modern institutions of thought that fragment our ability to identify the integral entirety of patriarchal oppression and cause us to focus our criticism and activism at only one of the many faces, be it race, class, or gender. Her adoption of empirical thought, perhaps, creates that blind spot in her theory.

[34] She states that "It is evident that no one discourse can describe Chicanas in their entirety and that the different discourses that—together—describe them do so in overlapping and obviously inconsistent ways" (452). I beg to dispute her claim by asking that we step back to a meta-critical level and recognize that these discourses are ideological traps that are potentially reconcilable in the light of identifying their root opposition to verticality and the multifaceted Modern machine of patriarchy. The historical-allegorical "founding father," George Washington, is a father, a man, a white person, a slave holder, a land owner, a military officer, and a construction company owner. He is one person with one social position. We, however, tend to see only certain aspects of his person. We only see one face of patriarchy at a time.  I believe that this has to do with the issue of access to power. A vertical social structure that prizes upward mobility will positively affirm the similarities that its subjects have with it. If Washington is the representative of the structure, and few people can claim all of the characteristics that he has, they will claim as many as possible. Indeed, the more you have in common with him (of course in analogous terms specific to what is now legal) the higher up your social position. This is the allegory of domination that facilitates our understanding of our own oppression and permits wholeness instead of fragmentation.

[35] We can understand Sandoval's implications that all marginal subjects have been fragmented in Modernity and that they are thus already postmodern by Alarcón's derridean logic, which explains that their fragmentation is a product of the competing discourses that produce them in various (mutually exclusive) ways. The Modern discourses that have historically produced Chicanas—be they mainstream or antihegemonic, sexist community preservation or racist feminism—all share certain factors with Patriarchy, or historical verticality. Feminism shares the racist and class chauvinism of patriarchy and Marxist ethnic nationalism shares the gender-based power structure. In turn, feminism becomes fragmented because of its blind eye to race and class, and the Chicano Movement becomes fragmented because of its adherence to the gendered power of patriarchy. Each anti-hegemonic discourse addresses one of those categorical factors of power, not the whole Father. Each focuses on only one of the Patriarchal categories of power and domination, not accounting for the wholeness of that Father, and thus they are subject to division along the lines of the other categories of vertical power relations.

[36] The organizational structure that resists fragmentation and remains intact is the one tailored to the embodiment of the Founding Father. He, at the top of each categorical power relation (Man/woman, heterosexual/gay-lesbian, land-owning/landless, capitalist/community oriented, boss/employee-servant, white/non-white, Anglo-phone/non-Anglo-phone...), emits a discourse that produces everyone else as partially integral, and integrally fragmented in relation to their access to power and their sense of privilege vs. oppression: a man but brown, a white land-owner but female, a CEO but gay, patriotic but critical of the government; putting solidarity and community into crisis, making identity require "but"s and other such explanatory clauses of alliance and identification, casting everyone else as non-normative. His subjectivity is "objectivity."

[37] Those on the underside of the categories may produce him in private—as house servants whisper about the master on the landing of the stairs—and center their communication on their experiences of him. They understand each other's conversation, but they will not produce him to his face because he will not let himself be an object. He will disqualify and their words along one categorical rule or another, and thereby maintain his utter one-ness, his impenetrable wholeness, his monopoly on language, his ownership of the discourse, his power. The differend marks their silence in the discourse, but it does not mean that they don't think and talk to each other outside of the realm of his consciousness.

[38] He will not be internally conflicted because he is the center around which (and by which) the discourse is created. He is the allegory of power. In order to cease to be fragmented, his Others, be they racial, class, or gender, must recognize that his various institutions, their respective discourses, and even the discourses that contest only isolated categorical power structures, fragment their voices and identities. We are not essentially fragmented; rather, our fragmentation is a result of the violence enacted upon us, a condition particular to the current geopolitic, a temporary interruption, a product of circumstance.

[39] The intent to overcome oppressive theoretical discourses that prohibit marginalized peoples, particularly Chicanas and women of color, from living a happy life is clear in the work of all three writer-activists. None of them, however, go beyond the critical forms determined by the fragmenting and alienating capitalist structure to find what Cherríe Moraga calls "The MeChicana before the fall" who is "more than just the sum of all these fragmented parts" (72). Their theories are contingent upon the very structure that oppresses them, a structure erected upon disciplinarity and other such forms of fragmentation inherent to Modernity and (gender+) Patriarchy. In fact, Moya repeatedly calls her work, and the work of women-of-color feminists in general, "progressive." By ascribing to the "progressive," Moya, reveals her acceptance of pre-determined channels of criticism and revolution provided by the oppressive capitalist nation-state, as well as her willing insertion into the Western trajectory. On the one hand she discards relativism as a feasible means for creating social change. Moya's arguments support the assertion that if we live by relativism, we disarm ourselves against violent acts of destruction or genocide, we give up any claim to objective good and bad, and we clear the path for accepting injustices committed by expansive cultures that take advantage of the horizontal platform. On the other hand, however, she ascribes to "progress," which is related directly to relativism in the contemporary context of multicultural tolerance, globalization, and representational democracy. What she does not identify is the relationship between relativism and "progressive politics." What does "progress" consist of, if not tolerance, respect of difference, cultural relativism, the expansion of the U.S. economic markets, and the transformation of regional indigenous cultures into Modern cultures? The relativist cultural values espoused by representational democracy and postmodern theory may even cause us to be the unwitting accomplices of injustices. If our culture is expansive and prioritizes and values as "the common good," "progress," and "freedom of choice" we commit ourselves to accepting and condoning the involuntary sacrifices made by those that are forced to accommodate "progress" at the highest of costs. To this effect Howard Zinn asks, "[Are such values] acceptable to the poor of Asia, Africa, Latin America, or to the prisoners of Soviet Labor Camps, or the blacks of urban ghettos, or the Indians on reservations—to the victims of that progress which benefits a privileged minority in the world?" (17 A People's History). They are not. Progress is the expansion of the agenda of the Father and its ability to incorporate its Others into its inertia through discourse, reform, and fragmentation.

[40] What many thinkers from dominated cultures seem to have forgotten is that Chicanas—even though they may have assimilated and may be forced by circumstance to use the language, tools, and genealogies of thought imposed by the hegemonic culture—belong to the historical category of the victims of progress to which Zinn alludes. The tradition of the written word in the Americas as a tool of conquest, colonization, and hegemony—and not as a means of forthright communication [7]—complicates the ethics and potential reach of criticism of writing. But since the Western tradition defines the rest of the world for itself as it expands into the territories of its Others where it effectively replaces existing historic and holistic language traditions, that same tradition becomes a necessary means for redefinition and linguistic expression for victims of expansion. For the vast majority of Chicana writer-activists, writing, written accounts of history, English language, Spanish language, postmodern promises of inclusion, the limitations of conservative-vs.-progressive political identities, and other such Western or mestizo traditions and concepts are the only tools readily available after centuries of colonization. [8] As the post-Conquest lingua franca, the tools and platforms of Western epistemology have become inevitable for communicating with one's own community and for refuting the characterizations that construct and bolster the ideology that allows for the naturalization of oppression. If we do not acknowledge that the fragmentation and alienation that they cause are not essential, but rather specific to their tradition, we give up all possibilities for our wholeness. The revival of indigenous thought (as in the work of Moraga) and other such recoveries allow for us to root our thoughts outside of the institutions of the West and thus respond to our environment according to our non-colonial histories and criteria. Colonization and "Progress" are an interruption to our wholeness, they are not the end of it.

Works Cited

Alarcón, Norma. "Chicana Feminism: In the Tracks of 'The' Native Woman." Between Women and Nation. Eds. Caren Kaplan, Norma Alarcón, and Minoo Moallem. Durham: Duke UP, 1999.

—."Cognitive Desires: An Allegory of/for Chicana Critics." Listening to Silences: New Essays in Feminist Criticism. Elaine Hedges, Shelley Fisher.

—. "Theoretical Subject(s) of This Bridge Called my Back and Anglo American Feminism." In Criticism in the Bordelands. Ed, Hector Calderón and José David Saldívar. Durham: Duke UP, 1990. 28-39.

—."Traddutora, Traditora." Dangerous Liasons. Eds. Anne McClintock et al. Minnesota: U of Minnesota Press, 1997. 278-297

Baumgardner, Jennifer and Amy Richards. Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000.

Castillo, Ana. Massacre of the Dreamers. New York: Plume, 1995.

—. Castillo, Ana. Ed. La Diosa de las Americas/Goddess of the Americas. New York: Riverhead Books, 1996.

de Certeau, Michel. The Writing of History. New York: Columbia UP, 1988.

Cervantes, Lorna Dee. Emplumada. Houston: Arte Publico Press, 1981.

Christian, Barbara. "The Highs and Lows of Black Feminist Criticism" in Warhol and Price. 51-56.

Cornejo Polar, Antonio. "El comienzo de la Heterogeneidad en las literaturas andinas: Voz y letra en el "diálogo de Cajamarca." Escribir en el aire. Lima: Editorial Horizonte, 1994.

Dussel, Enrique. "Eurocentricsm and Modernity (Introduction ot the Frankfurt Lectures)." Boundary 2, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Autumn 1993): 65-76.

Gaspar de Alba, Alicia. "Malinche's Revenge." Feminism, Nation, and Myth: La Malinche. Amanda N. Harris and Rolando Romero, ed. Houston: Arte Público Press, 2005. 44-57.

Kavka, Misha and Elisabeth Bronfen. Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century. New York: Columbia UP, 2001.

Lyotard, Jean-Francoise. Le Différend. Paris: Minuit, 1983

Mohanty, Satya. Literary Theory and the Claims of History. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1997.

Moraga, Cherríe. "El mito azteca" Goddess of the Americas/Diosa de la Américas. Ana Castillo, ed. Riverhead Books, 1996. 68-72.

—. The Last Generation. Boston: South End Press, 1993.

—. Loving in the War Years. 2nd edition. Cambridge: South End Press, 2003.

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Moya, Paula. "Chicana Feminism and Postmodernist Theory." Signs. Vol. 26, No. 2 (Winter , 2001), 441-483.

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[1] In my critical-pedagogical article on Lorna Dee Cervantes for Gale Press Latina & Latino Authors I explain the work of Cervantes through the "wave" approach to feminism. Although I maintain my analysis of Chicana allegory as a commonality with second-wave feminism, I have since realized that the complexity of Chicana allegory goes beyond just an ethnic-specific model that is parallel to mainstream feminism, and that a Chicana's relationship to writing and to allegory is colonially inflected.

[2] See Richards and Baumgardener, also Kavka and Bronfen.

[3] See chapter three for my critical review of the nineteenth-century literary canons.

[4] Her consciousness is further exemplified in "Queer Aztlan" and other pieces from The Last Generation.

[5] See Dussell.

[6] My argument implies Audre Lourde's classic strategic assertion that "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house." But in song with Chicana feminists and women-of-color feminists in general that chose to employ the Western media of writing, I would argue that we do have to contest the master in his language. We have to seek means for self-determination despite the fact that the only language we have available to us is the language of the oppressor. For this reason, self-determination and the recuperation of language based on paradigms outside (or before) the West—ie. pre-colonial, pre-imperial, earth-based, community-based—are the strategies of choice, strategies enacted by writers like Cherríe Moraga and Gloría Anzaldúa.

[7] See Antonio Cornejo Polar for a critical exposition of chronicles and testimonies of "El diálogo de Cajamarca" and a theorization of the military role of the written text in the Conquest.

[8] Although a chicana writer might register for an inmersion course in Nahuatl, for example, it is not a language that is readily available in that 1) it is not a part of everyday life, 2) few people can understand it, 3) she would have to have the time, money, and academic access to go on such a trip, and 4) the resulting articulations would make little to no sound within the community, like a tree in the forest with no body to hear. See my dissertation Chapter 4.