Interview with Madina Tlostanova, www.kronotop.org
When you are the border, when the border cuts through you, when you do not cross borders in order to find yourself on either side, you do not discuss borders from some zero point positionality, but instead you dwell in the border, you do not really have much choice but to be a border thinker. Here Gloria Anzaldua’s dictum is really unmatched: “To survive the Borderlands/ You must live sin fronteras/ Be a crossroads”. Anzaldua calls this painful position “una herida abierta” – an open wound – between the lighter and darker sides of modernity/coloniality. For a Chilean-American playwright and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman it is being a bridge between the North and the South. For British-Caribbean writer Caryl Phillips it is the belonging to the airport as an ideal transit border state of someone whose home is in the Atlantic. For Argentinean diasporic philosopher Maria Lugones it is a journey along other peoples’ worlds with a loving perception which allows the border subject to flexibly and easily switch and juggle different models in her essentially non-aggressive ethical and communicative stance.
As for me, indeed my origins make me a border person more easily than others and being the border and thinking from the border has been my leitmotif both in scholarly works and in fiction. My recent novel “Zalumma Agra” is precisely about border dwellers and thinkers from different countries and époques. For trans-diasporic people like me it is hard to define my own body-politics of knowledge, my local history does not correlate with my native language. I speak the imperial tongue and am ignorant of colonial languages that were supposed to be my native ones, my ethnic composition is discordant with my cultural, ethical and social, as well as religious persuasions. I am a postmodern/postcolonial trickster with decolonial stance, with no land to territorialize in and with an explosive mixture of contradictory values hard to unambiguously taxonomize in any essentialist way.