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Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration

Engendering Transnational Ties

By Luz María Gordillo

Publication Year: 2010

Weaving narratives with gendered analysis and historiography of Mexicans in the Midwest, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration examines the unique transnational community created between San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, Jalisco, and Detroit, Michigan, in the last three decades of the twentieth century, asserting that both the community of origin and the receiving community are integral to an immigrant’s everyday life, though the manifestations of this are rife with contradictions. Exploring the challenges faced by this population since the inception of the Bracero Program in 1942 in constantly re-creating, adapting, accommodating, shaping, and creating new meanings of their environments, Luz María Gordillo emphasizes the gender-specific aspects of these situations. While other studies of Mexican transnational identity focus on social institutions, Gordillo’s work introduces the concept of transnational sexualities, particularly the social construction of working-class sexuality. Her findings indicate that many female San Ignacians shattered stereotypes, transgressing traditionally male roles while their husbands lived abroad. When the women themselves immigrated as well, these transgressions facilitated their adaptation in Detroit. Placed within the larger context of globalization, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration is a timely excavation of oral histories, archival documents, and the remnants of three decades of memory.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page/Copyright/Dedication

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pp. iii-v

Contents

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pp. vii-

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

Writing this book has been a long and enlightening journey. I am deeply grateful to all the San Ignacians and Detroiters who generously shared their memories, their homes, and their lives with me. Among other things, they reminded me that as a Mexicana immigrant I have had similar experiences that are full of contradictory feelings—both painful and rewarding—and that it is all right to recognize and acknowledge these as part of a successful immigrant narrative. ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

Afternoon sunlight lit the main avenue of San Ignacio Cerro Gordo as Carmen waited for the sign to begin the procession. She was wearing a formal black dress trimmed with delicate white lace along the plunging neckline. Her hair, perfectly done, was held up with an ornate black hairpin. Standing next to Carmen was her fiancé, Roberto, wearing a dark gray suit. Together they held a magnificent painting of the Virgin of Guadalupe, their family’s contribution to the local Catholic church. ...

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1. La Fiesta de los Ausentes

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pp. 17-58

Waking up in 2003 in San Ignacio Cerro Gordo was like being in an old Mexican musical with Silvia Pinal singing in the background, a male voice intoning gas Noel, gas Noel, gas Noel, el gas que te da m

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2. Transnational Sexualities

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pp. 59-92

I could hardly maintain a steady shot while walking and filming video during the fiestas patronales in 2003: hundreds of youths were dancing, pairing up, listening to music, kissing, and renting local bandas (bands) to follow them around. Many young men took the opportunity to market themselves as potential romantic partners and hard workers by flaunting their impeccably decked out cars, among other things. ...

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3. The Politics of Movement

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pp. 93-122

Demographic changes altered the ethnic landscape of Detroit throughout the twentieth century. But Mexican immigrants arriving in the 1920s and 1930s suffered severe dislocations that affected transnational community formation in different ways. The Great Depression in the early 1930s hit the Mexican community living in Detroit like a tsunami, diminishing its vitality until the early 1970s. ...

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4. Transnational Identities and Citizenship

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pp. 123-149

One sunny afternoon in the summer of 2004 I found myself unexpectedly humming Jorge Negrete’s nationalistic anthem México lindo y querido as I strolled down the street in Detroit’s Mexican Town.2 On one side of the street was a typical multipurpose immigrant business selling everything from music CDs to frilly quinceañera (fifteenth-birthday celebration) dresses, groceries, and cowboy boots. ...

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Conclusions

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pp. 150-160

Luis’s excitement filled the living room of the small three-bedroom house that Gaby and Gabriel owned in San Ignacio while awaiting the arrival of his father from Detroit. In the five years that I spent doing research in San Ignacio Cerro Gordo and in Detroit I witnessed two familial reunions of loved ones who had been dislocated by immigration. Gaby and her husband immigrated to Detroit permanently in 1997. ...

Notes

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pp. 161-188

Bibliography

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pp. 189-201

Index

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pp. 203-211


E-ISBN-13: 9780292793026
E-ISBN-10: 0292793022
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292722033
Print-ISBN-10: 0292722036

Page Count: 223
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos, 6 maps, 9 tables
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Chicana Matters

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Subject Headings

  • Mexican American women -- Michigan -- Detroit -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Mexican American women -- Cultural assimilation -- Michigan -- Detroit.
  • Women -- Mexico -- San Ignacio (Jalisco) -- Identity.
  • Transnationalism.
  • Detroit (Mich.) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Mexican American women -- Michigan -- Detroit -- Ethnic identity.
  • San Ignacio (Jalisco, Mexico) -- Emigration and immigration.
  • Women -- Mexico -- San Ignacio (Jalisco) -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
  • Immigrants -- Michigan -- Detroit -- Social conditions -- 20th century.
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