Depth Psychology in Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera

The New Mestiza


  • Matthew A. Fike Winthrop University



Anzaldua, Borderlands, Hillman, Re-Visioning Psychology, Jung, depth psychology


The essay first shows that Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands aligns with many Jungian psychological concepts, including the shadow, the collective unconscious, the unus mundus, and active imagination. It then reads the text through the lens provided by James Hillman’s Re-Visioning Psychology, a book she considers “instrumental.” His personifying, pathologizing, psychologizing, and soul-making or dehumanizing—a reworking of the Jungian individuation process—provide relevant analogies for Anzaldúan thought, particularly her conocimiento process. Using Hillman as a lens helps to schematize her broad array of subjects. Despite depth psychology’s relevance to Borderlands, however, the essay argues that Anzaldúa’s Borderlands re-visions Re-Visioning Psychology by emphasizing expanded states of awareness, body wisdom, and the spirit world in order to provide a more inclusive vision of the psyche than Hillman puts forth. Thus, the essay demonstrates that Jung—as well as Jung-via-Hillman—contributes more to the hybridity of Anzaldúa’s work than has been previously recognized.