"...Vivo en este estado liminal entre mundos, entre realidades, entre sistemas de conocimiento, entre sistemas de simbología.' Este terreno fronterizo al umbral de la conciencia, o pasaje, esta entretela, es lo que yo llamo 'nepantla.'"

"'...I live in this liminal state between worlds, between realities, between systems of knowledge, between symbology systems.' This liminal borderland terrain, or passageway, this interface, is what I call 'nepantla.'"

--Gloria Anzaldúa, Interviews, p. 268

Friday, August 26, 2011

Important Online resource on Nepantla processes/Recurso importante sobre los procesos nepantleros

I found an amazing page just now that discusses nepantla and nepantla-processes, called "The Centrality of Nepantla in Nahua-Era Philosophy" by James Maffie in the Philosophy Department at Colorado State University. He writes:
Nepantla characterizes a particular kind of process or activity: one consisting of middling mutuality and balanced reciprocity. I call such processes “nepantla-processes.” Nepantla-processes are dialectical, transactional, and oscillating; centering as well as destabilizing; and abundant with mutuality and reciprocity. They situate people or things in nepantlatli, “in the middle” of or “betwixt and between” two endpoints. Nepantla-processes are also simultaneously destructive and creative, and hence, transformative.
Unfortunately, the page is in English, and will not be of any help to our Mexicana friends for whom we are translating Chicana feminist/lesbian theory. But I find it very useful for those of us on this side to connect with Anzaldúa's theories and see how much of her nepantla vision was, in fact, rooted in the Nahua philosophy. Indeed, our Codex Nepantla is itself a nepantla-process, "dialectical, transactional, and oscillating; centering as well as destabilizing; and abundant with mutuality and reciprocity." At least, that's what Alma and I are hoping for: that abundant mutuality and reciprocity of all of the participants, each a tlacuila or scribe in the process of writing in between the red and the black ink. Yes, in many ways the process will be destabilizing as we juggle all of our other responsibilities and obligations, and especially as we come face to face with the Shadow Beast of our own internalized linguistic terrorism that continues to persecute our pocha tongues and our "bad" Spanish.

Acabo de encontrar una pagina increible que habla de nepantla y los procesos nepantleros, se titula "La Centralidad de Nepantla en la Filosofía de la Era Nahua," escrita por James Maffie de la facultad de filosofía en Colorado State University. El dice:
Nepantla caracteriza un proceso o actividad muy particular: que consiste de mutualidad entredós y reciprocidad balanceada. Yo le llamo a estos procesos, procesos nepantleros. Los procesos nepantleros son dialécticos, transaccionales, y oscilantes; centran igual que desestabilizan; y abundan con mutualidad y reciprocidad. Sitúan a personas o cosas en nepantlatli, o sea, entre medio de dos puntos finales. Los procesos nepantleros son simultáneamente destructivos y creativos, y por ende, transformativos.
 Desafortunadamente, la pagina esta en ingles, así que no les servirá de mucha a nuestras compañeras mexicanas por quien estamos traduciendo la teoría Chicana feminista y Chicana lésbica. Pero para nosotras de este lado nos puede servir a conectar con las teorías de Anzaldúa y ver que tan arraigada esta la visión nepantlera de Gloria con la filosofía nahua. Por seguro, nuestro Codex Nepantla es un proceso nepantlero, "dialéctico, transaccional, oscilante; que centra igual que desestabiliza; y que abundara con mutualidad y reciprocidad." Al menos, es lo que Alma y yo esperamos--la abundancia de mutualidad y reciprocidad de todas nuestras participantes, cada una tlacuila, o escribana, en el proceso de escribir entre medio de la tinta negra y roja. Por supuesto que este proceso de muchas formas será desestabilizante mientras hacemos juegos malabares con todas nuestras otras responsabilidades y obligaciones, y especialmente cuando nos enfrentemos con la Fiera Oscura de nuestro terrorismo lingüístico que aun nos persigue por nuestras lenguas pochas y nuestro español "malo."

1 comment:

Paola Zaccaria said...

Hola, Alicia, hola to all the nepantleras in codex nepantla.

Since June I have been using any scrap of time to work at an essay, maybe the first chapter in a book on MediterAtlantic no-border wall artivism and politics . The essay is titled “The nepantla era”, by which I do not refer to the past, but to our complex mobile times.
Looking for studies that could help me to explain the concept-state-process of nepantla in Nahua culture in order to give a historical foundation to my analysis of this precious concept in Gloria’s work, I came through Maffie’s brilliant essay.
When I read the essay, nonetheless, I was a bit struck by the fact that Maffie only hinted at Gloria. So, I made a google search with the two names, Maffie and Anzaldua, and found an interesting interview (http://dailynous.com/2014/05/20/pip-1-huebner-interviews-maffie/)to Maffie following the publication of a new book, , Aztec Philosophy: Understanding a world in motion (University of Colorado Press, 2014), that I have ordered but not yet received.
In this interview he puts Anzaldua among the writers who confused nepantla with the western notion of liminality , whereas it is an autochtonous notion. I am waiting to read the book to see if he seriously deals with her work to get to this judgement. I am instead trying to show how she works out a completely alternative idea of the nepantla process which certainly cannot be confused with the Western idea of liminality.
So, Maffie is useful to reconstruct the genealogy of this non-binaristic philosophy which in the hands of our nepantlera became a powerful tool to dismantle dualistic thought and create a pensamiento that can be of great material and epistemological impact in contemporary polycentric, poly-gendered, borderless, transcultural geo-corpo-cartographies, politics and poetics.