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Border Renaissance

The Texas Centennial and the Emergence of Mexican American Literature

By John Morán González

Publication Year: 2009

A watershed revision in the history of Mexican American literature and culture, revealing the crucial role played by the Texas Centennial of 1936 in crystallizing a new, politicized ethnic identity.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiv

For many years while growing up in my hometown of Brownsville, Texas, the family car would daily pass a tombstone-like historical monument at the entrance to the middle-class subdivision just off Paredes Line Road, where my family lived. Once, out of curiosity, we stopped long enough to...

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Introduction: Renaissance in the Borderlands

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pp. 1-28

The Texas Centennial of 1936 was an unlikely watershed in the development of Mexican American literature. The huge statewide celebration of the independence of Texas from Mexico in 1836 sparked an outpouring of literature from the one group of Texans arguably most marginalized by the event: Texas Mexicans.1 The media frenzy that blanketed the state...

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CHAPTER 1. “Texanizing Texans”: Texas Centennial Discourses of Racial Pedagogy

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pp. 29-66

In early May 1935, mere months before the formal observance of the Texas Centennial, a lieutenant and thirteen other sailors from the German cruiser Karlsruhe laid a wreath inside the Alamo to commemorate the “memory of Texas heroes” who had died there almost a century earlier (“German Sailors,” 5). Commanded by Captain Gunter Lutjens...

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CHAPTER 2. “This Is Our Grand Lone Star State”: Reclaiming Texas History in María Elena Zamora O’Shea’s El Mesquite

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pp. 67-94

In the midst of an old grove of live oak and mesquite trees alongside Highway 77 in Kenedy County stands a massive granite slab with a bronze plaque stained by the sun and rain of many years. Over the seven decades since its erection for the Texas Centennial of 1936, people traveling between...

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CHAPTER 3. Forging Bicultural U.S. Citizenship: LULAC and the Making of Mexican American Aesthetics

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pp. 95-126

The knock-knock joke received a Mexican American makeover in the LULAC News for December 1936, the issue that closed out the Centennial year. This example from a hoary genre might pass as unremarkable except for the bilingual, bicultural subject it posits as the condition of its own intelligibility. At first glance, the language and the very genre itself...

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CHAPTER 4. A Mexico-Texan Interlude: Américo Paredes, Border Modernity, and the Demise of Patriarchal Anticolonialism

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pp. 127-156

There is a modernist moment in Américo Paredes’s novel George Washington Gómez that almost escapes attention yet powerfully captures the vexed intersection of aesthetics, modernity, and patriarchal anticolonialism vital to his vision of Texas-Mexican culture during the 1930s. An epistemological vertigo overcomes...

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CHAPTER 5. Mujeres Fronterizas: Writing Tejana Agency into the Texas Centennial Era

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pp. 157-192

In the issue of the LULAC News for March 1939 an article titled “Doña Paula Losoya, Great Pioneer of Del Rio” introduced readers to yet another Texas-Mexican historical figure overlooked by Anglo-centric Centennial discourses. Since its first year of publication in 1931, the LULAC News, in an effort to educate Lulackers...

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Epilogue: From Centennial to Sesquicentennial

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pp. 193-202

In the Southwest Review for summer 1942, the renowned University of Texas folklorist J. Frank Dobie published “The Alamo’s Immortalization of Words” in an implicit response to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the previous December. Examining the discursive aftermath of the Battle of the Alamo in March 1836, Dobie maintained...


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pp. 203-229

Works Cited

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pp. 231-242


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pp. 243-259

E-ISBN-13: 9780292793538
E-ISBN-10: 0292793537
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292719781
Print-ISBN-10: 0292719787

Page Count: 275
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2009