Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




If colonialism is a structure, not an event, then special attention must be paid to the pastas well as the legacies of colonial domination that continue into the present. While Pope Francis has recently called for “overcoming colonizing mentalities” through the lens of what he calls “integral ecology,” crucial aspects of the colonial paradigm remain neglected or underexamined in this approach: sexuality, gender, and the negotiation of religious difference. After reviewing the theological-ethical negotiations that occurred at the beginning of colonization of the Americas, this dissertation proposes a narrative ethical model of reflection that brings Catholic ethics into conversation with the work of queer Chicana feminist author Gloria Anzaldúa. Known for her writings about the physical, sexual, psychological, and spiritual borderlands and the “nepantleras,” or border-crossers, who shift amongst these multiple social (and even metaphysical) planes, Anzaldúa offers decolonizing narratives of personal and collective identity formation that tend to the wounds of continued colonial structures. With particular focus given to the current controversies that arose through the Amazonian Synod in 2019, the role 16th century Catholic theologian Francisco de Vitoria played in negotiating the ethics of emergent political, economic, and theological structures, and Anzaldúa’s most potent theoretical contributions, the dissertation concludes with a narrative ethical reflection on alternate ways of conceptualizing belonging within the context of coloniality.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.