‘To be associated in space,’ or: a delightful misreading

My dear friend and colleague, Maggie Galvan, put up a post some time ago with a pretty powerful quote from feminist, queer, critical race, and postcolonical theorist Gloria Anzaldúa:

According to Edward Hall, early in life we become oriented to space in a way that is tied to survival and sanity. When we become disoriented from that sense of space we fall in danger of becoming psychotic. I question this—to be disoriented in space is the ‘normal’ way of being for us mestizas living in the borderlands. It is the sane way of coping with the accelerated pace of this complex, interdependent, and multicultural planet. To be disoriented in space is to be en nepantla. To be disoriented in space is to experience bouts of dissociation of identity, identity breakdowns and buildups.
I misread the final line as: “To be associated in space is to experience bouts of orientation of identity…” I delight in this accidental intake.
I reread Anzaldúa on this beautifully sunny day in Connecticut as I find a greater grounding and connection to the places and people around me in southern New England. I have moved so much this decade: Brooklyn to Berlin and back again, then off to Portland, Maine, and down to Hartford. I may not be completely oriented in space–pointed in one direction clearly over another, especially as the project of queering I take up pushes up uni- or bi-directionality–but I am fully associated to the place. When it comes to an environmental psychology approach, place and space require a great deal of association, and these links and bindings help us make sense of who are, in all of our orientations.
Anzaldúa, Gloria. “Border Arte.” The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader. Ed. AnaLouise Keating. Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. 176-186. Print. 180-181.

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