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Barrio-Logos

Space and Place in Urban Chicano Literature and Culture

By Raúl Homero Villa

Publication Year: 2000

Struggles over space and resistance to geographic displacement gave rise to much of Chicano history and culture. In this pathfinding book, Raúl Villa explores how California Chicano/a writers, journalists, artists, activists, and musicians have used expressive culture to oppose the community-destroying forces of urban renewal programs and massive freeway development and to create and defend a sense of Chicano place-identity. Villa opens with a historical overview that shows how Chicano communities and culture have developed 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 poet Lorna Dee Cervantes, novelist Ron Arias, and the art collective RCAF (Rebel Chicano Art Front), 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.

Published by: University of Texas Press

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-

I can only begin to suggest the range of people, places, and institutions that knowingly and unknowingly helped me to realize this project. With apologies to the majority who go unnamed, I wish to thank the following. For institutional support: the Office of the Dean of Faculty and the Louis and Hermione Brown Humanities Support Fund at Occidental College; the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program of the University of California; ...

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Introduction: Spatial Practice and Place-Consciousness in Chicano Urban Culture

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pp. 1-18

The consequences of geographic displacement loom large in Chicano historical memory, characterized, among other things, by the deter mining effects of land loss, shifting and porous national borders, coerced and voluntary migrations, and disparate impacts of urban development. The 1848 annexation of former Mexican territory—as a result of the Mexican-American War—into what is now the United States Southwest is the originary moment in the ...

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ONE: Creative Destruction: Founding Anglo Los Angeles on the Ruins of El Pueblo

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pp. 19-65

Although California became a state in the American union (1850) shortly after the end of the Mexican-American War, the full cultural dislocation of the laboring poblador class and the displacement from power of the elite, landowning Californios was not immediately effected in Southern California, isolated as it was from the national economic system by the lack of a connection to the ...

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TWO: From Military-Industrial Complex to Urban- Industrial Complex: Promoting and Protesting the Supercity

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pp. 66-110

Describing the ideological context for the rising anti-Mexican sentiments of the early 1940s, Rodolfo Acuña noted that ‘‘the war-like propaganda conducted during the repatriation [campaigns of the 1930s] reinforced in the minds of many Anglos the stereotype that Mexican Americans were aliens. ...

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THREE: "Phantoms in Urban Exile": Critical Soundings from Los Angeles’ Expressway Generation

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pp. 111-155

Cutting a broad swath through the central-city barrios, the juggernaut of Los Angeles’ postwar redevelopment effected its devastations upon a wide cross section of the Chicano community. For many contemporary writers and artists who grew up in the path or in the shadow of this voracious growth engine, lived experience provided the raw material that they would later transmute into compelling barriological expressions. Like the range of discourses treated ...

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FOUR: Art against Social Death: Symbolic and Material Spaces of Chicano Cultural Re-creation

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pp. 156-202

The motif of social death has been shown to be among the most persistent figures of Chicano structural oppression within an aggressive dominant culture. If many Chicanos in contemporary California, like their mexicano and Californio ancestors, have not yet retired to the land of the dead, it is not for lack of external pressures to do so. The disparate impacts of hegemonic urban planning and its attendant social ills continue to pose real material threats ...

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FIVE: Between Nationalism and Women’s Standpoint: Lorna Dee Cervantes’ Freeway Poems

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pp. 203-233

If the Los Angeles metropolitan region is a paradigmatic site of modern urban restructuring—with all of its attendant problems and promises—it is not the only place in California to have been monumentally refashioned in the contemporary period. While no other city in the state (or the nation) has surpassed the sheer volume of Los Angeles’ twentieth-century spatial and demographic expansion, the pace of urban development in the quarter century ...

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Epilogue: Return to the Source

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pp. 234-242

From an initial dissertation inquiry into the literary representations of urban Chicano experience, this study has grown and deepened in proportion to my expanding relationship with the city where I am making my place. Being in Los Angeles regularly compels me to reflect upon the intersections of urbanism, identity, and expressive practice in Chicano culture. In Paris Spleen, ...

Notes

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pp. 243-250

Works Cited

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pp. 251-264

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Permissions Acknowledgments

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pp. 278-279

Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to use previously published materials: The excerpt from Luis Alfaro, ‘‘Orphan of Aztlán,’’ from Uncontrollable Bodies: Testimonies of Identity and Culture, edited by Rodney Sappington and Tyler Stallings, pp. 233 – 241. Copyright © 1994 by Bay Press, Inc. Reprinted by per mission from Bay Press, Inc. The excerpts from ‘‘Aims and Concerns,’’ ‘‘Virgin Mary,’’ and ‘‘Federal ...

Index

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pp. 267-274


E-ISBN-13: 9780292798922
E-ISBN-10: 029279892X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780292787414
Print-ISBN-10: 0292787413

Page Count: 286
Illustrations: 57 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2000

Series Title: CMAS History, Culture, and Society Series

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • American literature -- Mexican American authors -- History and criticism.
  • Hispanic American neighborhoods in literature.
  • Mexican Americans -- Intellectual life.
  • City and town life in literature.
  • Mexican Americans in literature.
  • Space and time in literature.
  • Local color in literature.
  • Setting (Literature).
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