A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness

Writings, 2000–2010

A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness

Book Pages: 280 Illustrations: 9 illustrations Published: June 2011

Activism, Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Gender and Sexuality > LGBTQ Studies

A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness features essays and poems by Cherríe L. Moraga, one of the most influential figures in Chicana/o, feminist, queer, and indigenous activism and scholarship. Combining moving personal stories with trenchant political and cultural critique, the writer, activist, teacher, dramatist, mother, daughter, comadre, and lesbian lover looks back on the first ten years of the twenty-first century. She considers decade-defining public events such as 9/11 and the campaign and election of Barack Obama, and she explores socioeconomic, cultural, and political phenomena closer to home, sharing her fears about raising her son amid increasing urban violence and the many forms of dehumanization faced by young men of color. Moraga describes her deepening grief as she loses her mother to Alzheimer’s; pays poignant tribute to friends who passed away, including the sculptor Marsha Gómez and the poets Alfred Arteaga, Pat Parker, and Audre Lorde; and offers a heartfelt essay about her personal and political relationship with Gloria Anzaldúa.

Thirty years after the publication of Anzaldúa and Moraga’s collection This Bridge Called My Back, a landmark of women-of-color feminism, Moraga’s literary and political praxis remains motivated by and intertwined with indigenous spirituality and her identity as Chicana lesbian. Yet aspects of her thinking have changed over time. A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness reveals key transformations in Moraga’s thought; the breadth, rigor, and philosophical depth of her work; her views on contemporary debates about citizenship, immigration, and gay marriage; and her deepening involvement in transnational feminist and indigenous activism. It is a major statement from one of our most important public intellectuals.


A Xicana Codex reminds readers about the contributions women of color have made to feminist inquiry. . . . The book is a must for everyone, especially those interested in the intersections informing transnational women of color feminist practice.” — Alvina E. Quintana, Women's Review of Books

“Moraga’s prose is characteristically trenchant and her stance unapologetic as ever. But there is a tender quality of reflection here, too, even nostalgia, that strikes a new note. . . . [T]he sense of trying to hang on to, to remember, something vanishing is palpable in this book. It is a posture that Moraga strikes superbly, and the result is a strong articulation of resistance and, yes, hope, from one of the most important queer Chicana intellectuals of our time.” — Victoria Bolf, Lambda Literary Review

“Nostalgia, evolving consciousness, and the concept of (w)riting –writing to remember / making rite to remember / having the right to remember–lyrically permeate the pages of this book. Moraga’s ideas have matured and become more profound with the passage of time; I look forward to reading more of her eloquent resistance and wisdom in the coming years.” — Feminist Texican Reads

“This is an overall compelling, timely, and on many fronts, prophetic read. There is just enough background discourse on Chicana feminist thought and history for those uninitiated readers, and many new critical reflections and insights for the more seasoned readers wondering what this author has to offer since her last influential work. Both will potentially walk away from this book with an overdue sense of indignation, as well as a sense of hope that within the burgeoning nest of Chicana consciousness and social activism, lies the golden egg of a just, social democracy in the United States.” — Christiane Grimal, GRAAT Anglophone Studies

“[T]his collection has a vitality and a concern for human equality that does remind us of the positive reasons for politics.” — Mary Evans, European Journal of Women's Studies

“[T]he 26 pieces included in Codex are mutually informing, sometimes contradictory invocations for a decolonizing politics, family life, and art practice.” — T. L. Cowan, Women & Performance

“While I may turn to other writings for cultural criticism, Moraga provides what I have not been able to find on any other front: an indigenous Xicana path that insists on transgression as a political and spiritual imperative in a national environment whose core values are corrupt.” — Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Letras Femeninas

“‘I am no prophet, only a witness to the writing already on the wall that divides my own native homeland’ says Cherríe Moraga in the opening of her contemporary codex. Moraga speaks directly, as a powerful voice of a pivotal generation, a generation that is aging and coming to terms with its urgent, collective story. This political memoir in essays is a testimony to the awakening of an indigenous consciousness that has been disappeared in the memory of colonized Americas. The collection is blessed by the drawings of Celia Herrera Rodríguez. They provide the ceremonial flow. They represent the voices of the plants, earth and elements that give dreaming to the human mind. What a powerful offering in a time of reckoning.” — Joy Harjo, Mvskoke Nation, poet, musician, performer, playwright

“Cherríe Moraga’s A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness is a hope fulfilled. After the passing of Gloria Anzaldúa, Chicana/o studies suffered something like an eclipse of the moon but here comes radical, creative light into our lives and scholarship once more. Moraga’s intellectual and emotional courage about sexuality, race, queerness, and feminist energy shows us that Barack Obama and all Americans also live in the time of Latinos and Xicanas. Underlying these essays is the creative question ‘how can this new demography of many colors and genders be cultivated into a new democracy?’” — Davíd Carrasco, author of Religions of Mesoamerica: Cosmovision and Ceremonial Centers


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Cherríe L. Moraga is an award-winning playwright, poet, essayist, and activist. She is the author of Loving in the War Years and co-editor, with Gloria Anzaldúa, of This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. Moraga is a founding member of La RED Xicana Indígena, a network of Xicana activists committed to indigenous political education, spiritual practice, and grassroots organizing. She is an Artist-in-Residence in the Drama Department at Stanford University, where she also teaches in the Program in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Drawings by Celia Herrera Rodríguez xiii

Prólogo: A Living Codex xv

Agradecimentos xix

A Xicana Lexicon xxi

One. Existo Yo

A XicanaDyke Codex of Changing Consciousness 3

From Inside the First World: On 9/11 and Women-of-Color Feminism 18

An Irrevocable Promise: Staging the Story Xicana 34

Two. The Warring Inside

What Is Left of Us 49

MeXicana Blues 51

Weapons of the Weak: On Fear and Political Resistance 54

California Dreaming 73

Cuento Xicano 76

Indígena as Scribe: The (W)rite to Remember 79

The Altar of My Undoing 97

Three. Salt of the Earth

Aguas Sagradas 105

And It Is All These Things That Are Our Grief: Eulogy for Marsha Gómez 107

Poetry of Heroism: A Tribute to Audre Lorde and Pat Parker 111

The Salt That Cures: Remembering Gloria Anzaldúa 116

Four. The Price of Beans

South Central Farmers 133

The Other Face of (Im)migration: In Conversation with West Asian Feminists 135

Floricanto 146

Modern-Day Malinches 148

What's Race Gotta Do With It? On the Election of Barack Obama 151

This Benighted Nation We Name Home: On the Fortieth Anniversary of Ethnic Studies 163

Still Loving in the (Still) War Years: On Keeping Queer Queer 175

Epílogo: Xicana Mind, Beginner Mind 193

Appendix: Sola, Pero Bien Acompañada: The Art of Celia Herrera Rodríguez 201

Notes 209

Bibliography 229

Index 237
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-4977-8 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4962-4
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