Cuerpo, or a spatial-material rhetoric: embodied approaches using Chicana third space feminism for understanding and teaching literacy on the border




Hinojosa, Yndalecio Isaac, Jr.

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This dissertation introduces cuerpo, the Spanish word for body, as a spatial-material rhetoric for understanding and teaching literacy on the border. As a theoretical framework, I developed cuerpo to argue two points: literacy takes place and occurs within a place, and the material conditions of discourse are interactive and relational with place in the form of interactive rhetorical actions. I explored how literacy and literacy practices manifest with and in spatial-material-rhetoric juncture(ings); three dimensional processes that interpellate the body by concurrence or circumstance. Cuerpo will offer practitioners four contributions within the interdisciplinary contexts of rhetoric and composition, literacy studies, and Chicana/o studies. First, cuerpo expands literacy scholarship to spotlight literacy practices that manifest and are manifested on Latin@ bodies in the borderlands. Second, cuerpo highlights location, materiality, and rhetoric juncture(ings) within the context of concepts of literacy and literacy practices by spotlighting how bodies exist with and in a place, and junctures offer a three dimensional approach for theorizing the production of bodies, especially in relation to place(s). Third, cuerpo builds on and expands Chicana rhetoric, specifically the concept of a theory in the flesh by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Analdúa. As a framework, cuerpo augments a theory in the flesh from a self-reflexive abstraction into practical actualization for literacy studies. Fourth, cuerpo makes concrete abstract notions of third space by offering a framework to contextualize bodies to places. Contextualizing the anatomy of space(s) generates an organic third space that is reflexive, toward alterity and difference in particular.


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Bodies, Border, Chicana, Literacy, Rhetoric and Composition, Third space