Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011. Drawings by Celia Herrera Rodríguez.
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. [more]
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.
“‘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