María Cristina Lugones’s lifework spans over five
decades, foregrounding the reconstitution of subjects and engaging coalitional
politics as feminist philosopher, popular educator, professor, author, and
community organizer. Until her death in Syracuse, New York, on July 14, 2020,
María was a tireless fighter whose political activism both fed and drew on
these contributions, enriching interconnected worlds, from the struggle
to end all forms of racist and gender violence to her theorization of
resistance within social movements, from her practice of popular education to
the formation of grassroots coalitions, especially among women of color, and
finally her more recent theorization of the coloniality of gender,
heterosexualism, and decolonial feminisms.
It was vitally important to her that people come together across their differences, to understand each other deeply, as a means to learn to love and treat each other well and to form coalitions against interconnected oppressions. This is particularly true in her feminist work, and how she tried to build connections among women, but she really embraced differences and tried to initiate and deepen coalitions among all people, taking into consideration the very different places where we originate and that inform our sensibilities and tendencies. Motivated by a radical love, her popular pedagogy sought to equip people to overcome what she called, early in her career, the “map of oppression.” Oppressive structures designate maps of where people can move and where they are restricted from moving. “Trespassing” for her took on a political heft. María looked for company, she strove for political companionship, trespassing across boundaries of difference. These practical and concrete ways of tapping into the resistant possibility of subject formation gave rise to numerous and influential philosophical pieces, many of which found their home in Hypatia. Her argument that connected these themes received its clearest and most significant formulation in her critically acclaimed book Pilgrimages / Peregrinajes: Theorizing Coalition against Multiple Oppressions (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).
María’s approach to philosophy and politics was embodied in her
principle, “I won’t think what I won’t practice.” Between the 1970s and the
1980s, she developed a qualified affinity with lesbian separatism. She engaged
lesbian feminism as a way of loving other women well, in all their diversity.
However, she concluded, in order to fight white supremacy, one needed
communities, deeply hybridized communities, such as urban people from barrios
and communities of color, rural Hispanxs from the Southwest, persons with
disabilities, and queer collectives. She took lesbian separatism seriously, and
formed deep, enduring friendships, especially with Sarah Hoagland, Jackie
Anderson, and others. It was through this fruitful engagement that she
developed her idea of “curdled” separation, drawing on a failed attempt to whip
mayonnaise for her mother as a child. Putting the figure of “impure” mestizas
at the core, she argued for an impure separation, one that includes other
“transitionals, liminals, and border-dwellers.”
This is an excerpt of a modified English translation of "La filósofa peregrina," a collective text honoring María Lugones by Pedro DiPietro (activist/scholar, Syracuse University), Joshua M. Price (activist/scholar, Binghamton University), Leonor Lugones, Agustina Veronelli, and Silvana Veronelli (Lugones Family), Catherine Walsh (militant intellectual, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar-Ecuador), and Members of CPIC (Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture at Binghamton University) published by Página12 on July 24, 2020. Some of Lugones' key work appeared in the pages of Hypatia. The Editors are particularly grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Lugones' life and work with this translation.