Decolonizing Queer time: a critique of anachronism in latin@ writings

Eliana de Souza Avila


While the term Latin@ is untraceable to any coherent referent in terms of geographical or epistemic origin (Rodríguez 2014), still it denotes a very stable referent when it comes to geographical destination — the USA being the central migratory destiny shaped by and shaping identity shifts and epistemic positions variously associated with Latin America. As much as this narrative determinacy is the effect of global power asymmetries, it also tends to naturalize them by couching migration in evolutionist terms that anachronize struggles against displacement, deterritorialization, and dispossession. The field of Latin@ literature and criticism therefore becomes an effective locus from which the ongoing historical conflicts elided by those narratives can be creatively recalled and reconfigured. This essay reflects on the temporal borderlands as a critical paradigm for reconfiguring narratives of straight temporality within Latin@ texts.


Latin@ Studies; Anachronism; Racialization; Temporal Borderlands; Decolonization

Full Text:



Works Cited

Agathangelou, Anna M., Daniel Bassichis, and Tamara L. Spira. “Intimate Investments: Homonormativity, Global Lockdown, and the Seductions of Empire”. Radical History Review 100 (2008): 120-43.

Ahmed, Sara, Claudia Castañeda, Anne-Marie Fortier, and Mimi Sheller. “Introduction.” In Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration. New York: Berg, 2003.

___. Strange Encounters: Embodied Others in Post-Coloniality. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

Alcoff, Linda Martín. “Enrique Dussel’s Transmodernism,” Transmodernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production in the Luso-Hispanic World, 1.3 (2012): 60-68.

Alvarez, Julia. In the Time of the Butterflies. New York: Plume, 1995.

Anzaldúa, Gloria. Borderlands / La frontera: The New Mestiza. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1987.

Bhabha, Homi K. “Race, Time, and the Revision of Modernity.” In Postcolonial Criticism. Edited by Bart Moore-Gilbert, Gareth Stanton, Willy Maley. New York: Routledge, 2013 [1991].

Burawoy, Michael. "Introduction: Reaching for the Global." In Global Ethnography: Forces, Connections, and Imaginations in a Postmodern World. Edited by Michael Burawoy et al. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Cuevas, T. Jackie. "Imagining Queer Chican@s in the Post-Borderlands," Revue LISA/LISA e-journal. International Perspectives on the Transforming USA in the 21st Century. 11.2 (2013): online. Accessed 12 April 2016.

Dávila, Jerry. Dictatorship in South America. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell, 2013.

Dussel, Enrique. “World System and ‘Trans’-Modernity. Trans. Alessandro Fornazzari. Nepantla: Views from South 3.2 (2002): 221-44.

Edelman, Lee. No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.

Fabian, Johannes. Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983.

Fanon, Franz. Black Skin, White Masks. Translated by Charles Lum Karkmann. New York: Grove, 1967 [1952].

___. Les Damnés de la Terre. Paris: François Maspero, 1961. [Published in English as The Wretched of the Earth, trans. Constance Farrington (New York: Grove Press, 1965).]

Foucault, Michel. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings. New York: Pantheon, 1980.

___. Les mots et les choses. Paris: Gallimard, 1966.

Freeman, Carla. "Is Local : Global as Feminine : Masculine? Rethinking the Gender of Globalization." Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 26.4 (2001): 1007-1037.

Freeman, Elizabeth. Time Binds: Queer Temporalities, Queer Histories. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.

___. “Time Binds, or, Erotohistoriography.” Social Text 23.3-4 (Fall-Winter 2005): 57-68.

___. "Packing History, Count(er)ing Generations." New Literary History 31.4 (2000): 727-44.

Fregoso, Rosa Linda. "Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies." In Reading U.S. Latina Writers: Remapping American Literature. Edited by Alvina E. Quintana. New York and Palgrave Macmillan, 2003. 7-14.

Grandin, Greg. Empire's Workshop: Latin America, the United States, and the Rise of the New Imperialism. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2006.

Green, James Naylor. We Cannot Remain Silent: Opposition to the Brazilian Military Dictatorship in the United States. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010.

Grosfoguel, Ramón. "The Epistemic Decolonial Turn: Beyond Political-Economy Paradigms." Cultural Studies 21.2/3 (March/May 2007).

Halberstam, Judith [Jack]. In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives. New York and London: New York University Press, 2005.

Haritaworn, Jin. 2015. Queer Lovers and Hateful Others: Regenerating Violent Times and Places. London: Pluto Press.

Haritaworn, Jin, Tamsila Tauqir, and Esra Erdem. “Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror.’” In Out of Place: Interrogating Silences in Queerness/Raciality. Edited by Adi Kuntsman and Esperanza Miyake. York: Raw Nerve Books, 2008. 71–95.

Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990.

Hernández, Daisy. A Cup of Water Under My Bed. Boston: Beacon Press, 2014.

Hutcheon, Linda. A Poetics of Postmodernism: History, Theory, Fiction. New York and London: 1988.

Jackman, Michael Connors, and Nishant Upadhyay. “Pinkwatching Israel, Whitewashing Canada: Queer (Settler) Politics and Indigenous Colonization in Canada.” Women’s Studies Quarterly 42.3-4 (Fall 2014): 195-210.

Jameson, Fredric. “The End of Temporality”. Critical Inquiry 29.4 (2003): 695-718.

___. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. London and New York: Verso, 1991.

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.

Kaussen, Valerie. Migrant Revolutions: Haitian Literature, Globalization, and U.S. Imperialism. Lanham: Rowman & Littleman, 2008.

Laó-Montes, Agustin. “Afro-Latinidades: Bridging Blackness and Latinidad.” In Technofuturos: Critical Interventions in Latina/o Studies. Edited by Nancy Raquel Mirabal and Agustin Laó-Montes. Lanham and Plymouth: Lexington, 2007. 117-140.

Lugones, María. “Toward a Decolonial Feminism.” Hypatia 25.4 (Fall 2010): 742-759.

___. “The Coloniality of Gender.” Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise (Spring 2008): 1-17.

___. “Heterosexualism and the Colonial/Modern Gender System.” Hypatia 22.1 (Winter 2007): 186-209.

Luibhéid, Eithne. “Introduction: Queering Migration and Citizenship.” In Queer Migrations: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings. Edited by Eithne Luibhéid and Lionel Cantú. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005.

Maldonado-Torres, Nelson. “On the Coloniality of Being: Contributions to the Development of a Concept.” In Globalization and the Decolonial Option. Edited by Walter Mignolo and Arturo Escobar. New York: Routledge, 2010. 94-125.

___. “The Time of History, the Times of Gods, and the Damnés de la terre.” Worlds & Knowledges Otherwise (Spring 2006): 1-12.

Martin, Emily. Flexible Bodies. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995.

McBean, Sam. Feminism's Queer Temporalities. New York: Routledge, 2016.

McPherson, Alan. A Short History of U.S. Interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, 2015.

McSherry, J. Patrice. Predatory States: Operation Condor and Covert War in Latin America. Lanham and Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

Mignolo, Walter. “Epistemic Disobedience and the Decolonial Option: A Manifesto.” TransModernity: Journal of Peripheral Cultural Production of the Luso-Hispanic World (Fall 2011): 44-66.

___. "Epistemic Disobedience, Independent Thought and De-Colonial Freedom." Theory, Culture & Society 26.7-8 (2009): 1-23.

___. "Epistemic Disobedience: The De-colonial Option and the Meaning of Identity in Politics." Gragoatá 22 (1o. semestre 2007): 11-41.

___. “Coloniality at Large: The Western Hemisphere in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity.” The New Centennial Review 1.2 (2001): 19-54.

Moraga, Cherríe. “Art in America, con Acento.” In Women Writing Resistance: Essays on Latin America and the Caribbean. Cambridge: South End Press, 2003 [1994].

___. "Queer Aztlán: The Reformation of the Chicano Tribe." The Last Generation: Prose and Poetry. Boston: South End Press, 1993.

Muñoz, José Esteban. Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity. New York and London: New York University Press, 2009.

Oakes, Tim, and Louisa Schein. “Translocal China: An Introduction.” In Translocal China: Linkages, Identities, and the Reimagining of Space. Edited by Tim Oakes and Louisa Schein. London: Routledge, 2006. 1-35.

Ong, Aihwa. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.

Puar, Jasbir K. Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Durham: Duke University Press, 2007.

___. "Queer Times, Queer Assemblages." Social Text 84-85, 23.3-4 (Fall-Winter 2005): 121-39.

Puar, Jasbir, and Maya Mikdashi. “Pinkwatching and Pinkwashing: Interpenetration and Its Discontents.” Jadaliyya. Arab Studies Institute, 9 Aug. 2012. Web. 01 Dec. 2015.

Quijano, Anibal. “Colonialidad del poder, globalización y democracia. Revista de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Año 4, 7-8 (Septiembre 2001-Abril 2002).

___. “Coloniality of Power, Eurocentrism, and Latin America.” Nepantla: Views from South 1.3 (2000a): 533-80.

______. “Colonialidade del Poder y Clasificacion Social.” Festschrift for Immanuel Wallerstein. Special issue, Journal of World Systems Research 5.2 (Summer/Fall 2000b).

Renda, Mary. Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940. Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Ritchie, Jason. “Pinkwashing, Homonationalism, and Israel–Palestine: The Conceits of Queer Theory and the Politics of the Ordinary.” Antipode 47.3 (2014): 616-34.

Rodríguez, Juana Maria. “Latino, Latina, Latin@.” In Keywords for American Cultural Studies. Second Edition. Edited by Bruce Brugett and Glenn Hendler. New York: New York University Press, 2014.

___. Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces. New York: New York University Press, 2003.

Schulman, Sarah. Israel/Palestine and the Queer International. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.

Sedgwick, Eve K. Tendencies. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993.

Stavans, Ilan. The Essential Ilan Stavans. New York: Routledge, 2000.

Wesling, Meg. “Why Queer Diaspora?” Feminist Review 90 (2008), 30-47.


Copyright (c) 2017 Eliana de Souza Avila

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.