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Beyond El Barrio

Everyday Life in Latina/o America

Gina Perez, Frank Guridy, Adrian Burgos

Publication Year: 2010

Freighted with meaning, “el barrio” is both place and metaphor for Latino populations in the United States. Though it has symbolized both marginalization and robust and empowered communities, the construct of el barrio has often reproduced static understandings of Latino life; they fail to account for recent demographic shifts in urban centers such as New York, Chicago, Miami, and Los Angeles, and in areas outside of these historic communities.

Beyond El Barrio features new scholarship that critically interrogates how Latinos are portrayed in media, public policy and popular culture, as well as the material conditions in which different Latina/o groups build meaningful communities both within and across national affiliations. Drawing from history, media studies, cultural studies, and anthropology, the contributors illustrate how despite the hypervisibility of Latinos and Latin American immigrants in recent political debates and popular culture, the daily lives of America's new “majority minority” remain largely invisible and mischaracterized.

Taken together, these essays provide analyses that not only defy stubborn stereotypes, but also present novel narratives of Latina/o communities that do not fit within recognizable categories. In this way, this book helps us to move “beyond el barrio”: beyond stereotype and stigmatizing tropes, as well as nostalgic and uncritical portraits of complex and heterogeneous range of Latina/o lives.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Beyond El Barrio is a product of more than a decade’s worth of conversations among the co-editors, anthology contributors, as well as countless other colleagues and friends. The idea for the project emerged from discussions among the co-editors as we finished our dissertations in the early 2000s and were fortunate enough to receive fellowships and tenure track positions that allowed us the time, ...

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pp. 1-24

In The Souls of Black Folk, W. E. B. Du Bois notes that a persistent, yet unasked question between him and “the other world” is “How does it feel to be a problem?” A similar question might be posed to contemporary America’s Latina/o populations, who recently have emerged simultaneously as a possible solution to America’s race problem, as well as a pernicious symbol of the nation’s enduring dilemma of citizenship, ...

Part I: Citizenship, Belonging, and(the Limits of) Latina/o Inclusion

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pp. 25-26

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1. Singing the “Star-Spanglish Banner”: The Politics and Pathologization of Bilingualismin U.S. Popular Media

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pp. 27-43

In the spring of 2006, U.S. residents of all political persuasions were witness to the largest pro-immigrant cross-country protests in the nation’s history. Designed as a response to what many viewed as draconian measures to halt undocumented immigration,2 the peaceful marches were notable for their strategic use of the transnational popular media, particularly radio, as a key part of organizational efforts. ...

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2. “¡Puuurrrooo MÉXICO!”: Listening to Transnationalism on U.S. Spanish-Language Radio

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pp. 54-72

The Spanish-language radio station Estéreo Sol broadcasts from northern California, nearly seven hundred miles north of the geographical U.S.-Mexico border. In the face of San Francisco’s renowned foggy forecasts, Estéreo Sol broadcasts with a sunny, transnationalist disposition. For the twenty-two percent of San Francisco Bay Area residents that identify as Hispanic or Latino ...

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3. Hayandose: Zapotec Migrant Expressions of Membership and Belonging

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pp. 63-80

“Yiusll kumadr!” (Hello comadre!).1 The words rang out as my friend Marta and I walked up the driveway between the two buildings. Like Marta, the speaker was a Zapotec woman from Yalálag, Oaxaca. She approached us and accompanied us to several chairs nearby. Other people were already there and a rosary was being recited by a group composed primarily of women. ...

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4. Becoming Suspect in Usual Places: Latinos, Baseball, and Belonging in El Barrio del Bronx

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pp. 81-100

On 25 August 2001, the Rolando Paulino All Stars from the Bronx, New York, faced off against the Apopka, Florida, team during the semifinal round of the Little League World Series (LLWS). Broadcast internationally on ESPN, the Paulino All Stars were the main attraction for countless viewers. The Bronx team was propelled by Dominican-born pitcher Danny Almonte, ...

Part II: Gender, Sexuality, and the Politics of Memory and Representation

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pp. 101-102

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5. Gay Latino Histories/Dying to Be Remembered: AIDS Obituaries, Public Memory, and the Queer Latino Archive

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pp. 103-128

In early 1991, in the months prior to beginning to stop repressing my gay sexuality, I remember browsing surreptitiously the free gay weekly magazines my then roommate René brought into our shared apartment in West Los Angeles. Because he himself had only recently acknowledged his gay sexuality to me, these glossy English-language “rags” did not lie around freely and openly all over our place. ...

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6. All About My (Absent) Mother: Young Latina Aspirations in Real Women Have Curves and Ugly Betty

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pp. 129-148

In the critically acclaimed coming-of-age film Real Women Have Curves (2002), Ana Garcia, a first-generation Chicana teenager from East Los Angeles, aspires to attend Columbia University but first must reckon with her mother’s traditional views about gender roles within the Mexican American family. ...

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7. Making “The International City” Home: Latinos in Twentieth-Century Lorain, Ohio

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pp. 149-167

Lorain, Ohio, along Lake Erie thirty miles west of Cleveland, is at present the home of 14,000 Latinos, about twenty percent of the population in a city of 68,000. Puerto Ricans are the largest majority, with over 10,000 citizens, while almost 2,500 residents are identified as Mexicans. African Americans currently represent an additional fifteen percent of the city population. ...

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8. Hispanic Values, Military Values: Gender, Culture, and the Militarization of Latina/o Youth

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pp. 168-186

As the media consistently reminds us, we find ourselves at a critical and potentially dangerous time. A defining feature of this dangerous location, I would argue, is what conservative historian Andrew Bacevich (2005, 2) refers to as the new American militarism, which he defines as “a romanticized view of soldiers, a tendency to see military power as the truest measure of national greatness, and outsized expectations regarding the efficacy of force. ...

Part III: Latina/o Activisms and Histories

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pp. 187-188

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9. Going Public?: Tampa Youth, Racial Schooling, and Public History in the Cuentos de mi Familia Project

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pp. 189-210

The biggest challenge in the Cuentos de mi Familia project was getting middle school students to commit to writing a biography of one of their family members. One student, Roc

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10. The Mission in Nicaragua: San Francisco Poets Go to War

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pp. 211-232

In the late 1970s, a community of poet-activists rechristened their usual gathering spot, the plaza above a subway station in the heart of the barrio, as “Plaza Sandino.” Otherwise known as the BART station at Twenty-fourth and Mission streets in San Francisco’s Mission District, their literary seizure of the land, in the name of Nicaraguan peasant hero Augusto Sandino (1893–1934), ...

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11. From the Near West Side to 18th Street: Un/Making Latino/a Barrios in Postwar Chicago

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pp. 233-252

In late 1971, a group of Mexican Americans gathered in Chicago’s Pilsen/18th Street neighborhood to discuss the naming of a new Mexican community center opening in the area’s east end.1 The center would occupy the building of an old Catholic grammar school and adjoining church and rectory, which lay vacant for several years. St. Joseph’s, or St. Joe’s as it was known in the neighborhood, had long served a Slovakian immigrant population, ...

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12. Transglocal Barrio Politics: Dominican American Organizing in New York City

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pp. 253-272

Over the past two decades, Dominican American activists working in the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights have initiated projects that have reshaped that neighborhood and the local political landscape. In this process, they have established and utilized numerous networks that include and extend beyond local and transnational Dominican circles; these networks include African Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and progressive whites. ...

About the Contributors

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pp. 273-276


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pp. 277-290

E-ISBN-13: 9780814768563
E-ISBN-10: 0814768563
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814791288
Print-ISBN-10: 081479128X

Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Community life -- United States.
  • Hispanic American neighborhoods.
  • Hispanic Americans -- Social life and customs.
  • Hispanic Americans -- Social conditions.
  • City and town life -- United States.
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