August 18, 2012

Jotería and the Postcolonial

How do we categorize same-sex desire in the postcolony? Where do we locate it? What vocabulary are we to use when talking about same-sex desire in contexts where 'homosexuality' is an invisible institution? It is through these questions that I approach this blog, that is, a blog interested in examining how we complicate and wrestle over these questions through queer, feminist, Chicana/o, Latina/o, postcolonial, and theological perspectives.

As a Chicano activist-theologian, I am frustrated by the lack of attention to theological conversations around racialized queerness. I find the same neglect in ethnic studies in engaging theology as a way of understanding the embodied experiences of queer people of color. Accordingly, I am interested in producing a conversation at the intersections of all of these areas. In doing so, I employ and claim the ideologies of jotería as an identity and way of thought. Looking into my own contexts where the term 'homosexuality' simply cannot exist in language, I push back against the derogative nature of the term and instead embrace the identity already given to me and think about how to further extend and complicate the idea within the frameworks of cultural studies, literature, theology, etc.

Gloria Anzaldúa writes, "Chicanos need to acknowledge the political and artistic contributions of their queer. People listen to what your jotería is saying." It is in this spirit that I approach this project, to draw attention to what we do say, experience, and embody as la jotería and to bring in my own background in theology and question how this all operates on a spiritual and theological level.

Why theology? Because I believe that these discourses deal with ultimate questions about how we understand and interpret the world around us, which I believe to be fundamentally religious. I am interested in what a jotería theology does for queer and liberation theologies, and what it does for cultural studies. I use all these categories aware of their histories, tensions with one another, and power dynamics. But it is through these areas that I am interested in countering hegemonic pedagogies and instead construct pedagogies that deal with oppositional circumstances.

Why postcolonial? I recognize the ways in which queer studies and ethnic studies remain to be under the stricture of power dynamics informed by normative identities. The reality is, we have all been touched by the colonial project at one point or another in our lives and experiences, and it is thus the goal of my discussion to go at the class that's interested in keeping the colonized exactly where they are.

It is my intent to engage the intersectionality, intertextuality, intersexuality, and multiplicities that this new category of identity and thought introduces. I look forward to discussion that emerges on my part and through those willing to contribute.


  1. I’m very interested in these questions that you have raised. However, as a reader from India, I am not acquainted with the term “Jotería” and what it implies. Would you please suggest any texts that I could fall back on to understand it better?

    1. Gloria Anzaldúa really dives into the meaning of jotería in her work, so I would definitely suggest reading "Borderland/La Frontera" or some of "The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader." If you want to look into the themes of homonationalism I'm attempting to untangle through a transnational perspective, I highly recommend Jasbir Puar's "Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times."

      The Indian context is very interesting though as we think about postcolonial sexualities. Are you familiar with the films by Deepa Mehta at all?

  2. Vincent, thanks so much for the references. At the moment I'm enjoying Marcella Althaus Reid Indecent Theology, and I'm grateful that I chanced upon your blog.

    Yes, I have watched Deepa Metha's Fire and Water. A lot can be said about postcolonial sexualities. What's your take on it?