diasporic religious practices serves as a transgressive tool in narrative
discourses in the Americas.
Oshun’s Daughters examines
representations of African diasporic religions from novels and poems written by
women in the United States, the Spanish Caribbean, and Brazil. In spite of
differences in age, language, and nationality, these women writers all turn to
variations of traditional Yoruba religion (Santería/Regla de Ocha and
Candomblé) as a source of inspiration for creating portraits of
womanhood. Within these religious systems, binaries that dominate European
thought—man/woman, mind/body, light/dark, good/evil—do not function in the same
way, as the emphasis is not on extremes but on balancing or reconciling these
radical differences. Involvement with these African diasporic religions thus
provides alternative models of womanhood that differ substantially from those
found in dominant Western patriarchal culture, namely, that of virgin, asexual
wife/mother, and whore. Instead we find images of the sexual woman, who enjoys
her body without any sense of shame; the mother, who nurtures her children
without sacrificing herself; and the warrior woman, who actively resists demands
that she conform to one-dimensional stereotypes of womanhood.
Catrióna Rueda Esquibel starts from the premise that Chicana/o communities, theories, and feminisms cannot be fully understood without taking account of the perspectives and experiences of Chicana lesbians. To open up these perspectives, she engages in close readings of works centered around the following themes: La Llorona, the Aztec Princess, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, girlhood friendships, rural communities and history, and Chicana activism. Her investigation broadens the community of Chicana lesbian writers well beyond Moraga and Anzaldúa, while it also demonstrates that the histories of Chicana lesbians have had to be written in works of fiction because these women have been marginalized and excluded in canonical writings on Chicano life and experience.
This expanded, bilingual edition combines new research and perspectives on an inspired writer and thinker. It includes the fully annotated primary text, The Answer/La Respuesta (1691), which is Sor Juana's impassioned response to years of attempts by church officials to silence her; the letter that ultimately provoked the writing of The Answer; an expanded selection of poems; an updated bibliography; and a new preface.
Contributors: Glenda R. Carpio, Arlene Dávila, Lyn Di Iorio, Junot Díaz, Monica Hanna, Jennifer Harford Vargas, Ylce Irizarry, Claudia Milian, Julie Avril Minich, Paula M. L. Moya, Sarah Quesada, José David Saldívar, Ramón Saldívar, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Deborah R. Vargas
Rodríguez's groundbreaking study moves beyond the terms of Manifest Destiny to ask a fundamental question: How do the war's literary expressions shape contemporary tensions and exchanges among Anglo Americans, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans. By probing the war's traumas, anxieties, and consequences with a fresh attention to narrative, Rodríguez shows us the relevance of the U.S.-Mexican War to our own era of demographic and cultural change. Reading across dime novels, frontline battle accounts, Mexican American writings and a wide range of other popular discourse about the war, Rodríguez reveals how historical awareness itself lies at the center of contemporary cultural fears of a Mexican "invasion," and how the displacements caused by the war set key terms for the ways Mexican Americans in subsequent generations would come to understand their own identities. Further, this is also the first major comparative study that analyzes key Mexican war texts and their impact on Mexico's national identity.
By highlighting intertextualities such as those between Anzaldúa and D. H. Lawrence, Contreras critiques the resilience of primitivism in the Mexican borderlands. She questions established cultural perspectives on "the native," which paradoxically challenge and reaffirm racialized representations of Indians in the Americas. In doing so, Blood Lines brings a new understanding to the contradictory and richly textured literary relationship that links the projects of European modernism and Anglo-American authors, on the one hand, and the imaginary of the post-revolutionary Mexican state and Chicano/a writers, on the other hand.
The first book-length study specifically devoted to Nuyorican poetry, In Visible Movement is unique in its historical and formal breadth, ranging from the foundational poets of the 1960s and 1970s to a variety of contemporary poets emerging in and around the Nuyorican Poets Cafe “slam” scene of the 1990s and early 2000s. It also unearths a largely unknown corpus of poetry performances, reading over forty years of Nuyorican poetry at the intersection of the printed and performed word, underscoring the poetry’s links to vernacular and Afro-Puerto Rican performance cultures, from the island’s oral poets to the New York sounds and rhythms of Latin boogaloo, salsa, and hip-hop. With depth and insight, Urayoán Noel analyzes various canonical Nuyorican poems by poets such as Pedro Pietri, Victor Hernández Cruz, Miguel Algarín, Miguel Piñero, Sandra María Esteves, and Tato Laviera. He discusses historically overlooked poets such as Lorraine Sutton, innovative poets typically read outside the Nuyorican tradition such as Frank Lima and Edwin Torres, and a younger generation of Nuyorican-identified poets including Willie Perdomo, María Teresa Mariposa Fernández, and Emanuel Xavier, whose work has received only limited critical consideration. The result is a stunning reflection of how New York Puerto Rican poets have addressed the complexity of identity amid diaspora for over forty years.
Working from literary and historical accounts of mulattas, mestizas, and creoles, Bost analyzes a tradition, dating from the nineteenth century, of theorizing identity in terms of racial and sexual mixture. By examining racial politics in Mexico and the United States; racially mixed female characters in Anglo-American, African American, and Latina narratives; and ideas of mixture in the Caribbean, she ultimately reveals how the fascination with mixture often corresponds to racial segregation, sciences of purity, and white supremacy. The racism at the foundation of many nineteenth-century writings encourages Bost to examine more closely the subtexts of contemporary writings on the "browning" of America.
Original and ambitious in scope, Mulattas and Mestizas measures contemporary representations of mixed-race identity in the United States against the history of mixed-race identity in the Americas. It warns us to be cautious of the current, millennial celebration of mixture in popular culture and identity studies, which may, contrary to all appearances, mask persistent racism and nostalgia for purity.
The fifteen writers chosen for Women and Power in Argentine Literature include famous names such as Valenzuela, as well as authors anthologized for the first time, most notably María Kodama, widow of Jorge Luis Borges. Each chapter begins with a "verbal portrait," editor Gwendolyn Díaz's personal impression of the author at ease, formed through hours of conversation and interviews. A biographical essay and critical commentary follow, with emphasis on the work included in this anthology. Díaz's interviews, translated from Spanish, and finally the stories themselves—only three of which have been previously published in English—complete the chapters. The extraordinary depth of these chapters reflects the nuanced, often controversial portrayals of power observed by Argentine women writers. Inspiring as well as insightful, Women and Power in Argentine Literature is ultimately about women who, in Díaz's words, "choose to speak their truth regardless of the consequences."
The history of the American Southwest in large part entails the transformation of lived, embodied space into zones of police surveillance, warehouse districts, highway interchanges, and shopping malls—a movement that Chicana writers have contested from its inception. Brady examines this long-standing engagement with space, first in the work of early newspaper essayists and fiction writers who opposed Anglo characterizations of Northern Sonora that were highly detrimental to Mexican Americans, and then in the work of authors who explore border crossing. Through the writing of Sandra Cisneros, Cherríe Moraga, Terri de la Peña, Norma Cantú, Monserrat Fontes, Gloria Anzaldúa, and others, Brady shows how categories such as race, gender, and sexuality are spatially enacted and created—and made to appear natural and unyielding. In a spatial critique of the war on drugs, she reveals how scale—the process by which space is divided, organized, and categorized—has become a crucial tool in the management and policing of the narcotics economy.
Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano divides the book into three sections, which analyze Moraga's writing of the body, her dramaturgy in the context of both dominant and alternative Western theatrical traditions, and her writing of identities and racialized desire. Through close textual readings of Loving in the War Years, Giving Up the Ghost, Shadow of a Man, Heroes and Saints, The Last Generation, and Waiting in the Wings, Yarbro-Bejarano contributes to the development of a language to talk about sexuality as potentially empowering, the place of desire within politics, and the intricate workings of racialized desire.
Fourteen leading Chicano authors respond to questions about their personal and educational backgrounds, their perception of the role of the Chicano writer, and their evaluation of the literary, linguistic, and sociocultural significance of Chicano literature. The authors included are José Antonio Villarreal, Rolando Hinojosa, Sergio Elizondo, Miguel Méndez M., Abelardo Delgado, José Montoya, Tomás Rivera, Estela Portillo, Rudolfo A. Anaya, Bernice Zamora, Ricardo Sánchez, Ron Arias, Tino Villanueva, and Alurista.
Each interview is preceded by a brief introductory note which locates the author in the context of Chicano literature and provides a sense of his or her writing. Also included are a general introduction to Chicano literature, a chronological chart of publications by genre, and a selected bibliography. The volume will be an essential research tool for the student of Chicano literature and culture and a useful introduction for the general reader.
Lomas challenges longstanding conceptions about Martí through readings of neglected texts and reinterpretations of his major essays. Against the customary view that emphasizes his strong identification with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, the author demonstrates that over several years, Martí actually distanced himself from Emerson’s ideas and conveyed alarm at Whitman’s expansionist politics. She questions the association of Martí with pan-Americanism, pointing out that in the 1880s, the Cuban journalist warned against foreign geopolitical influence imposed through ostensibly friendly meetings and the promotion of hemispheric peace and “free” trade. Lomas finds Martí undermining racialized and sexualized representations of America in his interpretations of Buffalo Bill and other rituals of westward expansion, in his self-published translation of Helen Hunt Jackson’s popular romance novel Ramona, and in his comments on writing that stereotyped Latino/a Americans as inherently unfit for self-government. With Translating Empire, Lomas recasts the contemporary practice of American studies in light of Martí’s late-nineteenth-century radical decolonizing project.
Healthy, invalid, lustful, and confined bodies—as portrayed by Julio Cortázar, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Gabriel García Márquez, Severo Sarduy, Rosario Castellanos, and Tununa Mercado—become evidence for Roland Barthes’s contention that works of fiction are “anagrams of the body.” Claiming that an author’s intentions can be uncovered by analyzing “the topography of a text,” Prieto pays particular attention not to the actions or plots of these writers’ fiction but rather to their settings and characterizations. In the belief that bodily traces left on the page reveal the motivating force behind a writer’s creative act, he explores such fictional themes as camouflage, deterioration, defilement, entrapment, and subordination. Along the way, Prieto reaches unexpected conclusions regarding topics that include the relationship of the female body to power, male and female transgressive impulses, and the connection between aggression, the idealization of women, and anal eroticism in men.
This study of how authors’ longings and fears become embodied in literature will interest students and scholars of literary and psychoanalytic criticism, gender studies, and twentieth-century and Latin American literature.
In Taking Their Word, Arias complicates notions of the cultural production of Central America, from Mexico in the North to Panama in the South. He charts the literature of Central America’s liberation struggles of the 1970s and 1980s, its transformation after peace treaties were signed, the emergence of a new Maya literature that decenters Latin American literature written in Spanish, and the rise and fall of testimonio. Arias demonstrates that Central America and its literature are marked by an indigenousness that has never before been fully theorized or critically grasped. Never one to avoid controversy, Arias proffers his views of how the immigration of Central Americans to North America has changed the cultural topography of both zones.
With this groundbreaking work, Arias establishes the importance of Central American literature and provides a frame for future studies of the region’s culture.
Arturo Arias is director of Latin American studies at the University of Redlands. He is the author of six novels in Spanish and editor of The Rigoberta Mench Controversy (Minnesota, 2001).
In Chica Lit: Popular Latina Fiction and Americanization in the Twenty-First Century, Tace Hedrick illuminates how discourses of Americanization, ethnicity, gender, class, and commodification shape the genre of “chica lit,” popular fiction written by Latina authors with Latina characters. She argues that chica lit is produced and marketed in the same ways as contemporary romance and chick lit fiction, and aimed at an audience of twenty- to thirty-something upwardly mobile Latina readers. Its stories about young women’s ethnic class mobility and gendered romantic success tend to celebrate twenty-first century neoliberal narratives about Americanization, hard work, and individual success. However, Hedrick emphasizes, its focus on Latina characters necessarily inflects this celebratory mode: the elusiveness of meaning in its use of the very term “Latina” empties out the differences among and between Latina/o and Chicano/a groups in the United States. Of necessity, chica lit also struggles with questions about the actual social and economic “place” of Latinas and Chicanas in this same neoliberal landscape; these questions unsettle its reliance on the tried-and-true formulas of chick lit and romance writing. Looking at chica lit’s market-driven representations of difference, poverty, and Americanization, Hedrick shows how this writing functions within the larger arena of struggles over popular representation of Latinas and Chicanas.
In Unraveling the Real Cynthia Duncan provides a new theoretical framework for discussing how the fantastic explores both metaphysical and socially relevant themes in Spanish American fictions. Duncan deftly shows how authors and artists have used this literary genre to convey marginalized voices as well as critique colonialism, racism, sexism, and classism. Selecting examples from the works of such noted writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, and Carlos Fuentes, among others, she shows how capacious the concept is, and why it eludes standard definition.
Challenging the notion that the fantastic is escapist in nature, Unraveling the Real shows how the fantastic has been politically engaged throughout the twentieth century, often questioning what is real or unreal. Presenting a mirror image of reality, the fantastic does not promoting a utopian parallel universe but rather challenges the way we think about the world around us and the cultural legacy of colonialism.
Here we find the open expression of anger and grief, self-mocking humor, the music of protest, the quiet assertion of dignity, and the raucous celebration of survival. There are poems about stoop labor and welfare offices and housing projects, but also poems about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Minotaur.
Among the poets are former farm workers and gang members, a practicing physician, an ex-tenant lawyer, two professional chefs, and a Vietnam veteran. One poet was a political prisoner for six years; another staged a famous hunger strike; still another was indicted for her work with Central American refugees. In many ways this collection of poets comprises a chorus. Their song humanizes in the face of dehumanization.
While several scholars have begun to take sexuality seriously by invoking the rich terrain of contemporary Chicana feminist literature for its portrayal of culturally specific and historically laden gender and sexual frameworks, as well as for its imaginative transgressions against them, this is the first study to theorize racialized sexuality as pervasive to and enabling of the canon of Chican@ literature. Exemplifying the broad usefulness of queer theory by extending its critical tools and anti-heteronormative insights to racialization, Soto stages a crucial intervention amid a certain loss of optimism that circulates both as a fear that queer theory was a fad whose time has passed, and that queer theory is incapable of offering an incisive, politically grounded analysis in and of the current historical moment.
A key figure in the foundation of Chicano literature, Mario Suárez (1923–1998) was among the first writers to focus not only on Chicano characters but also on the multicultural space in which they live, whether a Tucson barbershop or a Manhattan boxing ring. Many of his stories have received wide acclaim through publication in periodicals and anthologies; this book presents those eleven previously published stories along with eight others from the archive of his unpublished work. It also includes a biographical introduction and a critical analysis of the stories that will broaden readers’ appreciation for his place in Chicano literature.
In most of his stories, Suárez sought to portray people he knew from Tucson’s El Hoyo barrio, a place usually thought of as urban wasteland when it is thought of at all. Suárez set out to fictionalize this place of ignored men and women because he believed their human stories were worth telling, and he hoped that through his depictions American literature would recognize their existence. By seeking to record the so-called underside of America, Suárez was inspired to pay close attention to people’s mannerisms, language, and aspirations. And by focusing on these barrio characters he also crafted a unique, mild-mannered realism overflowing with humor and pathos.
Along with Fray Angélico Chávez, Suárez stands as arguably the mid-twentieth century’s most important short story writer of Mexican descent. Chicano Sketches reclaims Suárez as a major figure of the genre and offers lovers of fine fiction a chance to rediscover this major talent.
Metcalf analyzes the emergence, production, marketing, and reception of gang memoirs. Through interviews with Rodriguez, Shakur, and Barbara Cottman Becnel (Williams's editor), Metcalf reveals both the writing and publishing processes. This book analyzes key narrative conventions, specifically how diction, dialogue, and narrative arcs shape the works. The book also explores how the memoirs are consumed. This interdisciplinary study—fusing literary criticism, sociology, ethnography, reader-response study, and editorial theory—brings scholarly attention to a popular, much-discussed, but understudied modern expression.
Serving as a counterpoint to hagiographic commentaries, Américo Paredes challenges and corrects prevailing readings by contemporary critics of Paredes's Asian period and of such works as the novel George Washington Gómez, illuminating new facets in Paredes's role as a folklorist and public intellectual. Limón also explores how the field of cultural studies has drifted away from folklore, or "the poetics of everyday life," while he examines the traits of Mexican American expressive culture. He also investigates the scholarly paradigm of ethnography itself, a stimulating inquiry that enhances readings of Paredes's best-known study, "With His Pistol in His Hand," and other works. Underscoring Paredes's place in folklore and Mexican American literary production, the book questions the shifting reception of Paredes throughout his academic career, ultimately providing a deep hermeneutics of widely varied work. Offering new conceptions, interpretations, and perspectives, Américo Paredes gives this pivotal literary figure and his legacy the critical analysis they deserve.
Fern DEGREESD'andez Olmos presents a well-researched chapter on the life of Rudolfo Anaya, familiarizing readers with his Hispanic cultural background which figures so prominently in his writing. A chapter on Anaya and the Chicano literary tradition deepens the reader's understanding and appreciation of the writer's tremendous contributions. Fernandez Olmos then devotes a full chapter to each of the novels, "Bless Me, Ultima, Heart of Aztlan, Tortuga, and Alberqueque"; his detective novels, "Zia Summer" and "Rio Grande Fall"; and his modern-day parable "Jalamanta: A Message from the Desert." Student readers and researchers will find the bibliography which includes reviews, criticisms, and other secondary sources to be very helpful."
This first full-length treatment of Julia Alvarez discusses her entire canon of writings including her poetry, short stories, children's fiction and nonfiction. The four novels are analyzed fully, each discussed in its own chapter with sections on plot, character development, literary device, thematic issues and narrative structure. Cultural and historical contexts of the work are also considered, and alternate critical perspectives are given for each novel. A select bibliography makes this volume a valuable research tool for students, educators and anyone interested in Latino literature.
This is the first text on prisoners in general, and Chicana/o and Latina/o prisoners in particular, that provides a range of case studies from the nineteenth century to the present. Olguín places multiple approaches in dialogue through the pairing of representational figures in the history of Chicana/o incarceration with specific themes and topics. Case studies on the first nineteenth-century Chicana prisoner in San Quentin State Prison, Modesta Avila; renowned late-twentieth-century Chicano poets Raúl Salinas, Ricardo Sánchez, and Jimmy Santiago Baca; lesser-known Chicana pinta and author Judy Lucero; and infamous Chicano drug baron and social bandit Fred Gómez Carrasco are aligned with themes from popular culture such as prisoner tattoo art and handkerchief art, Hollywood Chicana/o gangxploitation and the prisoner film American Me, and prisoner education projects.
Olguín provides a refreshing critical interrogation of Chicana/o subaltern agency, which too often is celebrated as unambiguously resistant and oppositional. As such, this study challenges long-held presumptions about Chicana/o cultures of resistance and proposes important explorations of the complex and contradictory relationship between Chicana/o agency and ideology.
This groundbreaking collection of Salinas' journalism and personal correspondence from his years of incarceration and following his release provides a unique perspective into his spiritual, intellectual, and political metamorphosis. The book also offers an insider's view of the prison rebellion movement and its relation to the civil rights and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The numerous letters between Salinas and his family, friends, and potential allies illustrate his burgeoning political awareness of the cause and conditions of his and his comrades' incarceration and their link to the larger political and historical web of social relations between dominant and subaltern groups. These collected pieces, as well as two interviews with Salinas—one conducted upon his release from prison in 1972, the second more than two decades later—reveal to readers the transformation of Salinas from a street hipster to a man seeking to be a part of something larger than himself. Louis Mendoza has painstakingly compiled a body of work that is autobiographical, politically insurgent, and representative.
Hinojosa is treated here from the perspective of his place in the mainstream of American literature and with his attempts to write works that speak to a large and more diverse audience, rather than from the perspective of his place within the world of Texas-Mexican literature. Joyce Lee does not neglect the regional aspects of Hinojosa's works, but puts them into the context of what they say about the vitality of American culture at large and about the Mexican culture's variations of the American Dream.
Covers Hinojosa's full-length books-- Dear Rafe, Klail City, The Useless Servants, The Valley, Partners in Crime, and Rites and Witnesses --as well as his essays and articles.
The heart of the book is a broad overview of Alvarez's literary achievements, followed by chapters that discuss individual works and a chapter on her poetry. The book also looks at how the author's writings grapple with and illuminate contemporary issues, and at Alvarez's place in pop culture, including an examination of film adaptations of her books. Through this guide, readers will better understand the relevance of Alvarez's works to their own lives and to new ways of thinking about current events.
The twelve critics interviewed for this project share certain characteristics. For each one, Mexico plays an essential role in his or her personal and academic background, and each is bilingual and bicultural, having received formal literary education in Spanish graduate programs. As products of the working class, each scholar here shares a sense of social consciousness and commitment that lends an urgency to their desire to promote Chicano literature and culture at the local, regional, national, and international levels. They serve as a source of inspiration and commitment for future generations of scholars of Chicano literature and leave a lasting legacy of their own.
Thinking en español legitimizes Chicana/o criticism as an established discipline, and documents the works of some of the most important critics of Chicano literature at the turn of the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. This timely book immortalizes literary historical figures and documents the trajectory of Chicano criticism.
The Avowal of Difference explores the potentialities and limitations that queer theory offers in the context of Latino American texts and subjects. Ben. Sifuentes-Jáuregui contrasts Latino American sexual genealogies with the Anglo-European “coming out” narrative—and interrogates the centrality of the “coming out” story as the regulating metaphor for gay, lesbian, or queer identities. In its place, the book looks at other strategies—from silence to circumlocution, from disavowal to indifference—to theorize queer subject formation in a Latino American cultural context. The analysis of texts by José Lezama Lima, Luis Zapata, Manuel Puig, Severo Sarduy, Junot Díaz, and others offers a comparative approach to understanding how queer sexualities are shaped and written in other cultural contexts.
“The Avowal of Difference is a delightful critical encounter between queer criticism and Latino American literature and culture. I wish I had written it myself.” — Ramón E. Soto-Crespo, author of Mainland Passage: The Cultural Anomaly of Puerto Rico
With the flowering of the Chicano Movement in the mid-1960s came not only increased political awareness for many Mexican Americans but also a body of fine creative writing. Now the major voices of Chicano literature have begun to reach the wider audience they deserve. Bruce-Novoa's Chicano Poetry: A Response to Chaos—the first booklength critical study of Chicano poetry—examines the most significant works of a body of literature that has grown dramatically in size and importance in less than two decades.
Here are insightful new readings of the major writings of Abelardo Delgado, Sergio Elizondo, Rodolfo Gonzales, Miguel Méndez, J. L. Navarro, Raúl Salinas, Ricardo Sánchez, and Tino Villanueva, as well as Alurista, Soto, Zamora, and Montoya. Close textual analyses of such important works as I Am Joaquín, Restless Serpents, and Floricanto en Aztlán enrich and deepen our understanding of their imagery, themes, structure, and meaning.
Bruce-Novoa argues that Chicano poetry responds to the threat of loss, whether of hero, barrio, family, or tradition. Thus José Montoya elegizes a dead Pachuco in "El Louie," and Raúl Salinas laments the disappearance of a barrio in "A Trip through the Mind Jail." But this elegy at the heart of Chicano poetry is both lament and celebration, for it expresses the group's continuing vitality and strength.
Common to twentieth-century poetry is the preoccupation with time, death, and alienation, and the work of Chicano poets—sometimes seen as outside the traditions of world literature—shares these concerns. Bruce-Novoa brilliantly defines both the unique and the universal in Chicano poetry.
Drawing on extensive archival research in the English and Spanish languages, John Morán González revisits the 1930s as a crucial decade for the vibrant Mexican American reclamation of Texas history. Border Renaissance pays tribute to this vital turning point in the Mexican American struggle for civil rights.
Arguing for a postnationalism that documents the radical politics and aesthetic processes of the past while embracing contemporary cultural and sociopolitical expressions among Chicana/o peoples, Hernández links the multiple forces at play in these interactions. Reconfiguring text-based analysis, she looks at the comparative development of movements within women's rights and LGBTQI activist circles. Incorporating economic influences, this unique trajectory leads to a new conception of border studies as well, rethinking the effects of a restructured masculinity as a symbol of national cultural transformation. Ultimately positing that globalization has enhanced the emergence of new Chicana/o identities, Hernández cultivates important new understandings of borderlands identities and postnationalism itself.
Many of these stories, Pollock observes, rise out of the depths of terror, flirting with disaster only to end with a profound sense of relief at what medical discourse calls a "good outcome." Others represent pain, make counterclaims on reproductive technologies, and suggest complex associations between maternity, sexuality, and body politics in the contemporary United States. Pollock retells stories about some of the injustices that structure giving and telling birth––finding there a reckoning with the unknown and unknowable.
Focusing on the performances of birth stories, Pollock writes an intimate ethnography: an account of listening "body to body" to stories that press the borders of cultural critique with virtuosity, possibility, desire, and risk. She draws on cultural criticism, performance studies, and narrative theory to unpack this long-ignored practice. Most striking, however, are the stories presented here: unsanctioned, bold, fragmentary, and often furtive, they both unnerve and inspire even as they realize and resist cultural norms.
Illustrating how the ideologies, stories, and images of racial hierarchy align with and support those of fervent US nationalism, Lee Bebout maps the relationship between whiteness and American exceptionalism. He examines how renderings of the Mexican Other have expressed white fear, and formed a besieged solidarity in anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies. Moreover, Whiteness on the Border elucidates how seemingly positive representations of Mexico and Chicano/as are actually used to reinforce investments in white American goodness and obscure systems of racial inequality. Whiteness on the Border pushes readers to consider how the racial logic of the past continues to thrive in the present.
Villa opens with a historical overview that shows how Chicano communities and culture have grown in response to conflicts over space ever since the United States' annexation of Mexican territory in the 1840s. Then, turning to the work of contemporary members of the Chicano intelligentsia such as Helena Maria Viramontes, Ron Arias, and Lorna Dee Cervantes, Villa demonstrates how their expressive practices re-imagine and re-create the dominant urban space as a community enabling place. In doing so, he illuminates the endless interplay in which cultural texts and practices are shaped by and act upon their social and political contexts.
In this book, Frederick Luis Aldama follows an entirely different approach. He investigates the ways in which race and gay/lesbian sexuality intersect and operate in Chicano/a literature and film while taking into full account their imaginative nature and therefore the specific kind of work invested in them. Also, Aldama frames his analyses within today's larger (globalized) context of postcolonial literary and filmic canons that seek to normalize heterosexual identity and experience. Throughout the book, Aldama applies his innovative approach to throw new light on the work of authors Arturo Islas, Richard Rodriguez, John Rechy, Ana Castillo, and Sheila Ortiz Taylor, as well as that of film director Edward James Olmos. In doing so, Aldama aims to integrate and deepen Chicano literary and filmic studies within a comparative perspective. Aldama's unusual juxtapositions of narrative materials and cultural personae, and his premise that literature and film produce fictional examples of a social and historical reality concerned with ethnic and sexual issues largely unresolved, make this book relevant to a wide range of readers.
Hernández looks specifically at the figures of the pocho (the assimilated Chicano) and the pachuco (the zoot-suiter, or urbanized youth). He shows how changes in their literary treatment—from simple ridicule to more understanding and respect—reflect the culture's changes in attitude toward the process of assimilation.
Hernández also offers many important insights into the process of cultural definition that engaged Chicano writers during the 1960s and 1970s. He shows how the writers imaginatively and syncretically formed new norms for the Chicano experience, based on elements from both Mexican and United States culture but congruent with the historical reality of Chicanos.
With its emphasis on culture change and creation, Chicano Satire will be of interest across a range of human sciences.
From the use of the Peladita and the Peladito as stock characters who criticized various aspects of the Mexican government in the 1920s and 1930s to contemporary performance art by María Elena Gaitán and Dan Guerrero, which yields a feminist and queer-studies interpretation, Rita Urquijo-Ruiz emphasizes the transnational capitalism at play in these comic voices. Her study encompasses both sides of the border, including the use of the Pachuca and the Pachuco as anti-establishment, marginal figures in the United States. The result is a historically grounded, interdisciplinary approach that reimagines the limitations of nation-centered thinking and reading.
Beginning with Daniel Venegas’s 1928 novel, Las aventuras de don Chipote o Cuando los pericos mamen, Rita Urquijo-Ruiz’s Wild Tongues demonstrates early uses of the Peladito to call attention to the brutal physical demands placed on the undocumented Mexican laborer. It explores Teatro de Carpa (tent theater) in-depth as well, bringing to light the experience of Mexican Peladita Amelia Wilhelmy, whose “La Willy” was famous for portraying a cross-dressing male soldier who criticizes the failed Revolution. In numerous other explorations such as these, the political, economic, and social power of creativity continually takes center stage.