Author of the Month: Anna SandovalPublished: July 15, 2009
Toward a Latina Feminism of the Americas: Repression and Resistance in Chicana and Mexicana Literature<
Anna Sandoval, associate professor/academic advisor, Chicano and Latino Studies
Published in 2009 by the University of Texas Press, Toward a Latina Feminism of the Americas is part of the Chicana Matters series that seeks to document the lives, values, philosophies and artistry of contemporary Chicanas. Weaving strands of Chicana and Mexicana subjectivities, the text explores the work of such contemporary authors as Sandra Cisneros, Laura Esquivel, Carmen Boullosa and Helena Maria Viramontes. Sandoval considers these writers’ resistance to traditional cultural symbols and their efforts to counteract negative representations of womanhood in literature and society. Sandoval interrogates the intersections of Latina experiences and offers a comparative approach to the historical and cultural connections found in Chicana and Mexicana literature. As a transnational scholar having researched in Mexico and having served as a Fulbright Scholar in Spain, she built bridges with other feminist literary critics who were also examining critical issues in Chicana and Latina Studies. Following a feminist model, Sandoval frames her theoretical discussions with her own voice and experience. The core of the book explores literary cultural archetypes across genres while critiquing writers’ reinterpretations of girls and women who have been bound by gendered expectations. These fictional characters serve as models of resistance and Sandoval hopes that the writers and the literature that she engages through her text “are aiding the reader in their own process of self-discovery and self-creation.” She reminds us that “the transnational stories explored in [her book] have both intellectual value and function as a form of productive practice, politics and community.” She earned her bachelor’s degree in English at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1987 and her Ph.D. in American Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1995. She taught at Occidental College, UCLA and Arizona State University before joining CSULB in 1997.