Terca, pero no pendeja: Terquedad as Theory and Praxis of Transformative Gestures in Higher Education

  • Omi S. Salas-SantaCruz UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education
Keywords: queer gesture, embodied refusals, gender/queer educational justice, decolonial agency and resistance, resistance research in higher education


In this article, the author explores the concept of terquedad or waywardness as a blueprint towards gender/queer justice in education. Using María Lugones’s (2003) theorizing resistance against multiple oppressions, the author presents Gloria Anzaldúa’s' writings in Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) and This Bridge Called My Back (1981/2015) as a project of storying the plurality of terquedad. In doing so, the author calls for a theory and praxis of terquedad as a framework to understand the embodied resistances queer and trans-Latinx/e students deploy as textual inconveniences to push back and resist the “institutional grammars” of U.S. universities (Crawford & Ostrom, 1995; Bonilla-Silva, 2012). Through a plática methodology (Fierros & Delgado Bernal, 2016), the author introduces Quiahuitl, a doctoral student engaging with a praxis of terquedad when confronted with institutional and sexual violence as she moves within and against the geographies and power structures of the university.

Author Biography

Omi S. Salas-SantaCruz, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education

Omi Salas-SantaCruz is a doctoral candidate at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education in the Critical Studies of Race, Class, and Gender program. Their research interests include queer and trans* Latinx/e literacies, decolonial resistance research in higher education, and queer of color pedagogies. Omi is the Graduate Initiatives Program Director at the UC Berkeley Multicultural Community Center and served as the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQI Communities at Cal. They hold two master’s degrees in sociology and education from Columbia University and UC Berkeley and is the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s, Tillery Foundation, and Center for Race and Gender Fellow.