Mixed-Race Women and Epistemologies of Belonging

Mixed-Race Women and Epistemologies of Belonging

Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies
Volume 31, Number 1, 2010
Pages 142-165
E-ISSN: 1536-0334
Print ISSN: 0160-9009
DOI: 10.5250/fronjwomestud.31.1.142

Silvia Cristina Bettez, Associate Professor
Department of Educational Leadership and Cultural Foundations
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

How is it that people know when they belong and to what they belong? This question, about the epistemology of belonging, carries a particular complexity for mixed-race women. How is it that mixed-race women create a sense of identification with others? What are the unities and disjunctures? What can we understand about epistemologies of belonging through examining how mixed-race women create belonging? Through qualitative work based on the life stories of women of mixed heritage, in this paper I examine how the navigation of hybridity, as it is experienced in the lives of six “hybrid” mixed-race women, illuminates the complexities of identity construction and epistemologies of belonging. I use the term epistemology to signify the nature of knowledge, how we come to know things, in this case knowledge, or knowing, related to belonging. Belonging in human relations is connected to identity, both self-identification and identification with others…

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