This Bridge Called the Canary Islands: Pedagogical Applications and Implications of Mestiza Theories in a Postcolonial Setting

Publication Date


Document Type



Languages, Literatures and Cultures


Venus Evans-Winters

Mentor Department

Educational Administration & Foundations


In Borderlands/La Frontera, Gloria Anzaldúa constructs a unique text which does not fit in a single category, but rather resembles an Aztec-like mosaic where different genres, languages, narrative voices, and cultural elements converge. This results in a colorful patchwork where the author's personal history and the history of her people merge in a genre the author has coined as autohistoria. The hybridity of the formal elements in the text mirrors the in-between identity of Anzaldúa, who refers to herself as neither American nor Mexican, and both at the same time. This mestiza consciousness is not exclusive to Chicanos living in the United States, but can be extrapolated to non-American border settings. Such is the case of the Canary Islands, which are the result of the cultural and linguistic relations and exchanges between Europe, South America, and Northwestern Africa. In this paper, I will explore the pedagogical applications of mestiza theories and literary texts by feminist Latina activists and writers in the academic context of the Canary Islands. For this purpose, I will develop a methodology focused on university students who do not fully identify as European despite their Spanish nationality, not as African despite their geographical location, nor as Latinos despite their South-American Spanish accent. Even though the reception of Anzaldúa's text in Spanish universities has been discussed by scholars such as Maria Antonia Oliver-Rotger and María Henriquez-Betancor, the possibilities that such an empowering text offers to Canarian students have not been explored to date. The aim of the curriculum I propose is to help vulnerable students understand their complex identities and find their own voice when they have been silenced, so they can strive for self-determination and social justice in and outside of the classroom.


González Martín-graduate

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