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In the Spirit of a New People

The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement

Randy J. Ontiveros

Publication Year: 2013

Reexamining the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, In the Spirit of a New People brings to light new insights about social activism in the twentieth-century and new lessons for progressive politics in the twenty-first. Randy J. Ontiveros explores the ways in which Chicano/a artists and activists used fiction, poetry, visual arts, theater, and other expressive forms to forge a common purpose and to challenge inequality in America.
Focusing on cultural politics, Ontiveros reveals neglected stories about the Chicano movement and its impact: how writers used the street press to push back against the network news; how visual artists such as Santa Barraza used painting, installations, and mixed media to challenge racism in mainstream environmentalism; how El Teatro Campesino’s innovative “actos,” or short skits,sought to embody new, more inclusive forms of citizenship; and how Sandra Cisneros and other Chicana novelists broadened the narrative of the Chicano movement. In the Spirit of a New People articulates a fresh understanding of how the Chicano movement contributed to the social and political currents of postwar America, and how the movement remains meaningful today.
Randy J. Ontiveros is Associate Professor of English and an affiliate in U.S. Latina/o Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. 1-5


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pp. 6-7

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pp. vii-viii

...I am grateful beyond measure to the many people who have helped me to write this book and to arrive at the joyful place I am today. To those named below and to the many more unnamed, thank you. To my teachers: Ms. Borges; Mr. Walton; Mr. Goldstein; Ms. Kemp; Mr. Mikolavich; Tim Caron; Todd Pickett; Lindon Barrett (que en paz descanse); Leo Chavez; Julia Lupton...

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Introduction: The Art and History of the Chicano Movement

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pp. 1-43

...What significance does the Chicano movement have today? This question is at the heart of the book you hold in your hands, but it is not an easy one to ask, let alone to answer. Many people have never heard of the Chicano movement, a nationwide campaign during the 1960s and after for the civil rights of Mexican Americans. Some individuals faintly recall...

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1 Antennas and Mimeograph Machines: Postwar Mass Media and the Chicano/a Street Press

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pp. 44-85

...On August 30, 1972, a small group of young Chicano/a activists invaded Catalina Island. Their move was part of what they called the Marcha de la Reconquista, a three-month “Reconquest March” aimed at drawing attention to the long history of discrimination against Mexicans in...

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2 Green Aztlán: Environmentalism and the Chicano/a Visual Arts

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pp. 86-130

...On April 22, 1970, millions of people gathered in cities and towns across the United States for what turned out to be one of the largest political mobilizations in the nation’s history. That first Earth Day made environmentalism a focal point of American political discourse. Individuals...

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3 Immigrant Actos: Citizenship and Performance in El Teatro Campesino

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pp. 131-169

...The first years of the twenty-first century have been witness to intense attacks on some of the most vulnerable populations in the United States, including the undocumented workers whose cheap labor subsidized much of the boom economy of the 1990s and the early years of the...

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4 After Words: Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo and the Evolution of Chicano/a Cultural Politics

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pp. 170-196

...Ignacio García, a participant-turned-historian of the Chicano movement, argues in an often-cited essay from 1996 that the field of Chicano/a studies must decide whether to continue its descent into irrelevance, or to recover its activist roots by reaffirming the principles of the 1969 “Plan...


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pp. 197-226


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pp. 227-233

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About the Author

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pp. 234-234

...Randy J. Ontiveros is Associate Professor of English and an affiliate in U.S. Latina/o Studies and Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park....

E-ISBN-13: 9780814738887
E-ISBN-10: 0814738885
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814738849
Print-ISBN-10: 0814738842

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 862135203
MUSE Marc Record: Download for In the Spirit of a New People

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Mexican American art.
  • Mexican Americans -- Politics and government.
  • Mexican Americans -- Social conditions.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 1960-1980.
  • Chicano movement.
  • Social movements in art.
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