The Macksey Journal


I begin this essay with a short anecdote that describes a gathering of Sorjuanistas, a group of scholars who have devoted their careers in analyzing the life and literary work of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (16848-95). I argue that even though the study of Sor Juana is usually interpreted as an academic endeavor, recent artistic projects have proven otherwise. Sorjuanistas have become scholar-artists who use the narrative of Sor Juana to shed light on the injustices experienced by Latin@ and Chicana@ individuals living in the United States. By creating dramatic works, Sorjuanistas exhibit their devotion to Sor Juana. The dramatic works also show us how Sor Juana’s narrative can help us rethink the way in which we understand history. In particular, I argue that the dramatic works created by Sorjuanistas are embodied performances. With this framework in mind, I look at the embodiment of Sor Juana as heritage performance. Heritage performance is essential in helping us understand the relevance of Sor Juana in the 21stcentury because it allows us to challenge the way in which history is created. Thus, the performance of bodies is a way of knowing and creating our understanding of Sor Juana and by extension the people who see her as their “patron” or role model.