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University of Oregon

Colloquium with Elena Ruiz

Nov 10, 2015

Elena_2On Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 4:00-5:30pm in the Knight Library Browsing room, Professor Elena Ruiz (Florida Gulf Coast University) will give a Colloquium Talk, “Alphabets of Survival: Linguistic Alterity and Latina Feminist Theories of Selfhood.”

Professor Ruiz summarizes her talk as follows: “Latina feminists like Gloria Anzaldúa and Mariana Ortega have developed anti-essentialist accounts of selfhood that are responsive to the problem of alterity and hermeneutic alienation experienced by multiplicitous subjects, understood as those who must navigate between multiple cultural norms and often conflicting interpretive traditions (due to Colonial legacies and intersectional oppressions). These accounts can be fortified by examining the sense of inarticulacy that arises from having to name conditions of existence undergird by social and historical contradictions and ambiguities—especially under the experiential stress of gendered social violence, cultural trauma, and state terror. To address phenomenological accounts of “linguistic terrorism” and the role language plays in multiplicitous accounts of selfhood, I turn to a strategic reading of Nietzsche’s existential conception of the self as a living multiplicity and his related account of the impoverishment of language. In doing so, I argue more generally that philosophies of agency that critique agential narratives of rupture, instability and interpretive loss (as part of liberal emancipatory projects) often do so without sufficient attunement to the ways concepts of alterity and liminality operate in North-South contexts or Latina feminist thought. I end the talk by highlighting the critical, decolonial impetus of these concepts as responses to cultural violence.”

Contact: Beata Stawarska <>