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Decolonial Voices

Chicana and Chicano Cultural Studies in the 21st Century

Edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Naomi H. Quiñonez

Publication Year: 2002

The interdisciplinary essays in Decolonial Voices discuss racialized, subaltern, feminist, and diasporic identities and the aesthetic politics of hybrid and mestiza/o cultural productions. This collection represents several key directions in the field: First, it charts how subaltern cultural productions of the US/ Mexico borderlands speak to the intersections of "local," "hemispheric," and "globalized" power relations of the border imaginary. Second, it recovers the Mexican women's and Chicana literary and cultural heritages that have been ignored by Euro-American canons and patriarchal exclusionary practices. It also expands the field in postnationalist directions by creating an interethnic, comparative, and transnational dialogue between Chicana and Chicano, African American, Mexican feminist, and U.S. Native American cultural vocabularies.

Contributors include Norma Alarcón, Arturo J. Aldama, Frederick Luis Aldama, Cordelia Chávez Candelaria, Alejandra Elenes, Ramón Garcia, María Herrera-Sobek, Patricia Penn Hilden, Gaye T. M. Johnson, Alberto Ledesma, Pancho McFarland, Amelia María de la Luz Montes, Laura Elisa Pérez, Naomi Quiñonez, Sarah Ramirez, Rolando J. Romero, Delberto Dario Ruiz, Vicki Ruiz, José David Saldívar, Anna Sandoval, and Jonathan Xavier Inda.

Published by: Indiana University Press

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pp. vii-x

The present anthology, Decolonial Voices: Chicana and Chicano Cultural in the 21st Century, edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Naomi Quiñonez, provides us with a splendid collection of essays exploring a broad range of issues affecting Chicano/a society, particularly along the United States–Mexican border, in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Issues of...

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pp. xi

We would like to acknowledge our friends, colleagues, and mentors and recognize their support in helping us complete the Decolonial Voices volume. We are especially grateful to the Center for Chicano Studies at UC Santa Barbara for the financial and administrative support during the 1999–2000 academic year. The warmth and encouragement of Carl...

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pp. 1-7

THE U.S.-México border zone is a site that is lived and expressed by those who reside in the physical/discursive margins generated by the edge of two nation states. As Gloria Anzaldúa (1999) reminds us, “The U.S.-Mexican border es una herida abierta where the Third World grates against the first and bleeds . . . the lifeblood of two worlds merging to form a third...

Part I: Dangerous Bodies

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pp. 9

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1. Millennial Anxieties: Borders, Violence, and the Struggle for Chicana and Chicano Subjectivity

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pp. 11-29

CHICANA/O BORDER studies, devoted to understanding the complex dialectics of racialized, subaltern, feminist, and diasporic identities and the aesthetic politics of hybrid mestiza/o cultural production, is at the vanguard of historical, anthropological, literary, cultural, artistic, and theoretical inquiry.

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2. Writing on the Social Body: Dresses and Body Ornamentation in Contemporary Chicana Art

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pp. 30-63

WHETHER THEY attempt to appear natural within a given culture or to create a spectacle of difference within it, as Dick Hebdige described the politics of subcultural styles (1987 [1979]: 102), clothing

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3. New Iconographies: Film Culture in Chicano Cultural Production

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pp. 64-77

THIS ESSAY examines Chicana/o cultural work whose citation of international film movements and various cinematic iconographies index a resistance to oppressive regimes of representation. While contesting the dominant culture’s abject markings, these same cinematic reflections introduce a significant critique of gender, national, sexual, and...

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4. Penalizing Chicano/a Bodies in Edward J. Olmos’s American Me

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pp. 78-97

FIVE-PLUS centuries after the European conquest and colonization of the Americas, its violent racist and heterosexist legacy continues to cut deeply into the minoritarian subject’s body and soul. In the year or so leading up to the new millennium, New York Police Department officers were found guilty of beating and sodomizing (with a toilet plunger) Haitian...

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5. Biopower, Reproduction, and the Migrant Woman’s Body

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pp. 98-112

THIS AD of illegal immigrants scurrying across the border, which ran as part of former governor Pete Wilson’s 1994 Republican gubernatorial primary campaign, dramatizes nicely one of the most prevalent concerns of Californians during the 1990s: the “problem” of illegal immigration. The picture and the words carry the ominous message that foreigners are...

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6. Anzaldúa’s Frontera: Inscribing Gynetics

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pp. 113-126

In our time the very categorical and/or conceptual frameworks through which we explicitly or implicitly perceive our sociopolitical realities and our own subjective (private) contextual insertion are very much in question. There is a desire to construct our own (women of color) epistemologies and ontologies; and to obtain the interpretive agency with which to...

Part II: Dismantling Colonial/Patriarchal Legacies

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pp. 127

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7. Re(Riting) the Chicana Postcolonial: From Traitor to 21st Century Interpreter

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pp. 129-151

I FIRST recited poetry in elementary school when my second grade teacher asked me to participate in a talent show. It was a simple poem about ducks, willow trees, and ponds—elements of nature to which I had little exposure in the urban clutter of Los Angeles. How or why I began to write poetry, I cannot recall. My family had its fair share of musicians, my mother and...

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8. How the Border Lies: Some Historical Reflections

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pp. 152-176

ASKED ABOUT the borders that separate Mexico and the United States, Carlos Fuentes replied: “A big difference, I think, is memory. I have . . . called the U.S. the United States of Amnesia. They tend to forget their own history. So when I am speaking about a Protestant republic, a republic based on democratic principles of self-government, let me not forget that...

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9. “See How I Am Received”: Nationalism, Race, and Gender in Who Would Have Thought It?

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pp. 177-195

IN María Amparo Ruiz de Burton’s novel Who Would Have Thought It?, the reader is transported to a New England which is in the throes of the Civil War. Within this historical background, the novel parodies and satirizes New England’s religious and political life through Ruiz de Burton’s Mexican American perspective. Indeed, Mexican and American religion...

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10. Engendering Re/Solutions: The (Feminist) Legacy of Estela Portillo Trambley

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pp. 196-208

WHEN SHE died in 1998, Estela Portillo Trambley, a native of El Paso, Texas, left a public legacy of writing, storytelling, and several decades of teaching influence that I admire greatly and find solid as cuentos and important as cultural artifacts. At the same time I find her literary legacy ideologically complicated and complicating, as important legacies often...

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11. Unir los Lazos: Braiding Chicana and Mexicana Subjectivities

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pp. 209-222

MY INTEREST in comparing Mexican women’s literature and Chicana literature began during a year of study at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (UNAM) in Mexico City in 1990. As a Chicana from a working-class background, my attraction to living and studying in Mexico was based not only on my respect and scholarly interest in the...

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12. Borders, Feminism, and Spirituality: Movements in Chicana Aesthetic Revisioning

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pp. 223-242

THIS ESSAY addresses the “possession and ownership” of an ideological Chicana aesthetic space interpreted through the digital photography of Alma López (Harlan: 7). The aesthetic space inhabited by Alma López’s visual voice, agent of her own oppositional gaze, is based on the examination of “new aesthetic opportunities” which deconstructs and lays out...

Part III: Mapping Space and Reclaiming Place

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pp. 243

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13. Border/Transformative Pedagogies at the End of the Millennium: Chicana/o Cultural Studies and Education

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pp. 245-261

IN THEIR introduction to Border Theory (1997), David E. Johnson and Scott Michaelsen propose that border theories elaborated by Gloria Anzaldúa, Emily Hicks, and Héctor Calderón and José David Saldívar offer “essentialist” constructions of Chicana/o identity based on exclusionary, “stereotypical,” repressive, and even colonial mores. By negating or...

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14. On the Bad Edge of La Frontera

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pp. 262-296

IN AN influential manifesto published in La Línea Quebrada / The Broken Line (1986), Guillermo Gómez-Peña theorized the transfrontera urban galaxy of San Diego and Tijuana as a new social space filled with multicultural symbologies—sent out in polyglot codes (Spanish, English, caló, and Spanglish).¹ Though perhaps too steeped in poststructuralist...

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15. “Here Is Something You Can’t Understand . . . ”: Chicano Rap and the Critique of Globalization

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pp. 297-315

THE YEAR “Two G” is finally here and the consequences of the capitalist project of globalization are becoming apparent. Scholars and activists from all over the globe and throughout the political spectrum have spilled gallons of ink and killed hectares of trees in their attempts to understand (and, for some, to halt) the effects of late capitalism (neoliberalism) and its...

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16. A Sifting of Centuries: Afro-Chicano Interaction and Popular Musical Culture in California, 1960–2000

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pp. 316-329

THIS ESSAY moves toward an understanding of the politics of Afro-Chicano culture in contemporary California. It builds from an assumption that the realms of culture, politics, and economy are inseparable.

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17. Narratives of Undocumented Mexican Immigration as Chicana/o Acts of Intellectual and Political Responsibility

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pp. 330-354

Even though Noam Chomsky does not directly deal with issues of Mexican immigration and subalternity in the United States, his book Powers and Prospects (1996) calls attention to the need for academics to assume a responsibility toward social justice. In one of the chapters of this book, “Writers and Intellectual Responsibility,”¹ Chomsky notes that...

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18. Teki Lenguas del Yollotz

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pp. 355-365

AS A Yaqui/Huichol/Xicano, the realities of a cut tongue are especially disturbing. When I was young, my great-grandmother, Rita Cubedo (later “cut” to Diaz as a stratagem for surviving the inquisition against Yaquis in the late 1900s), would speak to me in our native Yaqui language. Though quite young, I nonetheless retain vivid recollections of those...

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19. The Alamo, Slavery, and the Politics of Memory

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pp. 366-377

SOME TIME ago I was invited to participate in a panel in an international conference of world English that purported to address the issues facing the English language in the twenty-first century. While working on the presentation, my mind kept racing back to my own very personal introduction to issues of power, of voice, of determination and agency, enveloped...

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20. Color Coded: Reflections at the Millennium

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pp. 378-387

THIRTEEN YEARS ago, I arrived at the El Paso airport after facilitating an oral history workshop for community groups sponsored by New Mexico State in nearby Las Cruces. As I passed security and strode toward my gate, I noticed that I was matching my pace with an impeccably dressed young blonde whose hair was styled in an elegant chignon. I then spied an...


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pp. 389-392


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pp. 393-413

E-ISBN-13: 9780253108814
E-ISBN-10: 0253108810
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253340146

Page Count: 432
Illustrations: 22 b&w photos, 1 index
Publication Year: 2002