[These brief glosses on some of Anzaldúa’s most im por tant terms and topics do not
do justice to the theories themselves. Check the index to locate her discussions on
these items. An earlier version of this glossary is in The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader. I
have updated the entries, as necessary, to reflect my current understanding of the
árbol de la vida: An identity-related theory, first introduced in Interviews /
Entrevistas and further developed in Light in the Dark. Using meta phors of roots
and grafting, Anzaldúa emphasizes the potentially relational, flexible aspects to
identity formation and change.
autohistoria: Anzaldúa coined this term, as well as the term “autohistoria-
teoría,” to describe women-of-color interventions into and transformations
of traditional western autobiographical forms. Deeply infused with the
search for personal and cultural meaning, or what Anzaldúa describes as
“putting Coyolxauhqui together,” both autohistoria and autohistoria-teoría
are informed by reflective self-awareness employed in the ser vice of social-
justice work. Autohistoria focuses on the personal life story, but as the auto-
historian tells her own life story, she si multaneously tells the life stories of
autohistoria- teoría: Theory developed by Anzaldúa to describe a relational
form of autobiographical writing that includes both life story and self-reflection
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