Thursday, April 5, 2018

Teaching "Tenth Muses of Chicana Lesbian Theory"

I'm so excited to be teaching my "Tenth Muses" graduate seminar again. Haven't taught it since 2014, and it's based on the metaphor of the "décima musa," or "tenth muse" of the Americas--Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, proto-feminist intellectual foremother of Chicana feminist thought. I see all Chicana feminists and Chicana lesbian theorists as "tenth muses" who struggle against and yet thrive despite the patriarchal oppressions of their/our family, community, and society. Sor Juana's community was the convent of Santa Paula of the Order of Saint Jerome in Mexico City (now a private university called El Claustro de Sor Juana), where she was cloistered for 26 of her 46 years. For Chicana lesbian theorists, our community is academia, where we sign our vows in blood and cloister ourselves for the entirety of our careers, working ourselves to the sleepless bone as we teach, learn, advise, advocate, invent, resist, celebrate, irritate, discover, practice, experiment, study, research, grade, evaluate, perform, publish, produce, breathe, envision, embody, educate, administrate, illuminate, challenge, change. And that's just our day job. To be able to sit in a room with bright, open, curious graduate students reading and mixing it up with the work of our "tenth muses" for three hours once a week is truly a reward and a privilege.