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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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From the Greek Myth of Minotaur to Hybrid Postmodern Identities

Prof. Mimi Yang.

The half-human and half-bull Minotaur in Greek mythology has epitomized the pain and the joy of a hybrid being, rejected by the two opposite worlds, which have molded him, while equipped with a built-in aptitude for adaptation and invention. In a daily shrinking and interconnecting postmodern world at the beginning of these millennia, more and more people have undergone intercultural transformation to the degree that they can no longer be considered entities of the culture or community of their birth, not to mention the descendents from mixed heritages. Regardless their backgrounds, nationalities, and geographic locations, these individuals become postmodern Minotaurs living simultaneously in two or more worlds and constituting a borderland, where a “third culture” comes to terms as a result of the interweaving of their primary one and the assimilated one. Anchored in two Chicano writers, Gloria Anzala and Richard Rodriguez, in the US, my paper explores labyrinthine boundaries of borderlands and examines Minotaurian qualities of a border crosser.

First, I revisit the Greek mythology in an attempt to capture the dynamics of ambiguity and paradox; secondly, I sketch a silhouette of a postmodern diasporic picture, which gives birth to Anzala and Rodriquez among many other postmodern Minotaurs; thirdly, based on the theories of leading postmodern thinkers, I redefine borderland as a state of mind and psyche rather than a geographic dividing zone, border crossers as intercultural transmitters and weavers rather than immigrants regulated by laws; finally, I draw the conclusion that Minotaurian qualities build up intercultural ties, enable us to cross the borders back and forth, and help us to become global citizens.


Prof. Mimi Yang  (United States)
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Chinese
Department of Modern Languages
Carthage College

I am a native Chinese, educated as a Hispanist in the US. I earned my doctoral degree from the Univ. of Arizona and did my dissertation on Borges and postmodernism. I also spent a considerable amount of time in Spanish speaking world. I have published on Jorges Luis Borges, Frida Kahlo, Santa Teresa de Avila, Cesar Vallejo as well as on pedagogy. I have taught courses on Chicano Studies and am currently working on papers on Chicano writers and globalism. Further, I conduct intercultural training workshops in both the US and China.

  • Hybrid identities
  • Minotaur
  • labyrinth
  • Greek
  • Postmodern
  • Borderland
  • Border crosser
  • Crossing
  • Global citizen
Person as Subject
  • Gloria Anzaldua Richard Rodriguez

(30 min Conference Paper, English)