Roberta Fernández’s "Intaglio": Border Crossings and Mestiza Feminism in the Borderlands

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Canadian Review of American Studies


A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in a constant state of tension. —Gloria Anzaldúa The Border is the site of translation —David E. Johnson With the signing of the Treaty of Guadeloupe Hidalgo in 1848, the US annexed large sections of northern Mexico that included California, New Mexico, Arizona, and parts of Colorado, Nevada, and Utah.1 But even as the inhabitants of these newly acquired territories of the US found themselves “without land, without a country, and without a voice” (Saldívar 12) and had to sever all ties with Mexico, they were not completely assimilated into mainstream American culture. Soon, a distinct culture began to emerge in this region, in the interstices of Anglo-Ameri­can and Mexican traditions, a culture that was neither fully Mexican nor com­pletely American. It was the culture of the borderlands.