Narrative Strategies for Navigating Latino Identity
Publication Year: 2011
Just as mariners use triangulation, mapping an imaginary triangle between two known positions and an unknown location, so, David J. Vázquez contends, Latino authors in late twentieth-century America employ the coordinates of familiar ideas of self to find their way to new, complex identities. Through this metaphor, Vázquez reveals how Latino autobiographical texts, written after the rise of cultural nationalism in the 1960s, challenge mainstream notions of individual identity and national belonging in the United States.
In a traditional autobiographical work, the protagonist frequently opts out of his or her community. In the works that Vázquez analyzes in Triangulations, protagonists instead opt in to collective groups—often for the express political purpose of redefining that collective. Reading texts by authors such as Ernesto Galarza, Jesús Colón, Piri Thomas, Oscar “Zeta” Acosta, Judith Ortiz Cofer, John Rechy, Julia Alvarez, and Sandra Cisneros, Vázquez engages debates about the relationship between literature and social movements, the role of cultural nationalism in projects for social justice, the gender and sexual problematics of 1960s cultural nationalist groups, the possibilities for interethnic coalitions, and the interpretation of autobiography. In the process, Triangulations considers the potential for cultural nationalism as a productive force for aggrieved communities of color in their struggles for equality.
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright
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Introduction. Notes on Triangulation: Navigating Latina/o Identity
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In Piri Thomas’s 1967 autobiography Down These Mean Streets, the protagonist cites a curious exchange he has with Brew, his African American comrade. As a dark-skinned Puerto Rican, Piri’s phenotypic similarities with Brew would indicate a likely affiliation.1 Yet a perplexing conflict arises, setting up a fascinating negotiation of the meaning of Piri’s racial identity: ...
1. Zigzagging through History: Ernesto Galarza, Jesús Colón, and the Development of Insurgent Consciousness
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Ernesto Galarza, Jesús Colón, and the Development of Insurgent ConsciousnessPersonhood can be taken for granted by some, while it (and all that accompanies it) has to be fought for by others, so that the general human political project of struggling for a better society involves a diff erent Many Latina/o cultural nationalist movements of the late 1960s and ...
2. Crazy for the Nation: Piri Thomas, Oscar “Zeta” Acosta, and the Urban Outlaw
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What the state fears [ . . . ] is an alternative system of legality or rationality, rather than the unbridled and formless motion of force that has yet to be subordinated. Th e “irrational” appears as such through the very rationality of the state from whose homogenizing drive connects the apparent particularity of national identities to the greater homogeneity of universal history....
3. Remaking the Insurgent Vision: John Rechy, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and the Limits of Nationalist Morality
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John Rechy, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and the Limits of Nationalist MoralityWhen the framework does not rest on a hierarchy of oppression, then every form of systemic violence and human agency must be taken into In previous chapters I examined Latina/o fi rst- person personal narra-tives that triangulate alternative formulations of identity as the basis for ...
4. I Can’t Be Me without My People: Triangulating Historical Trauma in the Work of Julia Alvarez
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At fi rst glance, [Trujillo] was just your prototypical Latin American caudillo, but his power was terminal in ways that few historians or writers have ever truly captured, or, I would argue, imagined. He was our Sauron, our Arawn, our Darkseid, our Once and Future Dictator, a personaje so outlandish, so perverse, so dreadful that not even a sci- fi writer could have ...
Conclusion. New Millennial Triangulations
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My attention to the nation and my interest in diff erentiating amongst diff erent nationalisms do not stem from a reactionary desire to reinstall the nation- state or nationalism as privileged categories of cultural analysis. Rather, I believe that transnationalist agendas, which I share, are poorly served by denying the continuing, though discernibly declining, ...
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A colleague and friend recently shared with me that writing her acknowl-edgments was one of the more diffi cult aspects of her book. As I sit down to write my own, I realize that this is undoubtedly the case. I am overwhelmed by the gratitude I feel when I think of the intellectual and First, I would like to acknowledge George Lipsitz. His formidable ...
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About the Author
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DAVID J. VÁZQUEZ is assistant professor of English at the University of ...
Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2011
Series Title: Critical American Studies