Irrational Women: Healing Cultural Trauma Through Decolonial Consciousness and Hybrid Spirituality in Chicana and Pinay Narrative Fiction

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What discursive strategies do women of color have at their disposal to confront and dismantle white supremacist patriarchy? Pinay (Filipina) and Chicana authors engaging with this question, like Ana Castillo, Evelina M. Galang, Jessica Hagedorn, Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Emma Pérez, and Carmen Tafolla, seem to conclude that the hybrid and decolonial consciousness emanating from cultural traumas reimagines more just and healing relationships with the self, partners, and communities. These decolonial reimaginings deprivilege and decenter rational thought as the most productive path to understanding, healing, and transformation. The mythic, creative, somatic, and spiritual are at the center of Chicana and Pinay authors’ decolonial, healing processes. In conversation with the relational work of women of color feminists, such as Gloria Anzaldúa, bell hooks, and Leny Mendoza Strobel, this dissertation reads Pinay and Chicana narrative fiction of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries side by side to demonstrate how the historical impact of Spanish colonialism and U.S. imperialism, and their resulting cultural traumas, have similarly shaped the decolonial discursive strategies that these authors use to dismantle the binaries of race, gender, and sexuality, among others. Chicana and Pinay authors create female protagonists whose irrational experiences provide them with new insights into personal and collective healing, while simultaneously redefining the boundaries of everyday reality.