In the Nahuatl language, nepantla refers to the ancient Mesoamerican “philosophy that views the world through motion-change,” binding past, present and potential futures together in creative tension (p. xvii). In Nepantla Squared: Transgender Mestiz@ Histories in Times of Global Shift (University of Nebraska Press, 2020), Prof. Linda Heidenreich relies on this concept to reflect expansively about identity, subjectivity, and the research process in this volume, mapping potential connections and useful collusions between Chicanx studies and trans studies. In five deeply researched and resonant chapters, they recover the histories of trans mestiz@s, focusing particularly on the lives of Jack Garland in late nineteenth-century California, and Gwen Amber Rose Araujo in late twentieth-century California. In this conversation, Heidenreich and Prof. Mirelsie Velazquez reflect on how the concept of nepantla invites all historians to consider the self and the now as part of the warp and weave of any inquiry into the past. Join us for an impassioned conversation about weaving together rage and hope to imagine a future of possibilities beyond borders.
Mirelsie Velazquez is an Associate Professor & Rainbolt Family Endowed Presidential Professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Oklahoma.