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Legacy of Américo Paredes

By José R. López Morín

Publication Year: 2006

Américo Paredes (1915–99) is one of the seminal figures in Mexican American studies. With this first book-length biography of Paredes, author José R. López Morín offers fresh insight into the life and work of this influential scholar, as well as the close relationship between his experience and his thought. Morín shows how Mexican literary traditions—particularly the performance contexts of oral “literature”—shaped Paredes’s understanding of his people and his critique of Anglo scholars’ portrayal of Mexican American history, character, and cultural expressions. Although he surveys all of Paredes’s work, Morín focuses most heavily on his masterpiece, With a Pistol in His Hand. It is in this book that Morín sees Paredes’s innovative interdisciplinary approach most effectively expressed. Dealing as he did with a people at the intersection of cultures, Paredes considered the intersection of disciplines a necessary locus for clear understanding. Morín traces the evolution of Paredes’s thought and his battles to create a legitimate home for his approach at the University of Texas. A voice for Chicano consciousness in the late 1960s and thereafter, Paredes championed Mexican American studies and encouraged a generation of scholars to consider this culture a legitimate topic for research. Urging the application of context to the understanding of oral texts, he challenged then-current methods of folklore and anthropological study in general. Paredes’s name will continue to resonate in Mexican American studies, American folklore, and Anthropology, and his work will continue to be studied. Américo Paredes: Folklorist of the Border makes a strong case for the lasting importance of Paredes’s work, especially for a new generation of scholars.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. vii-

Illustrations

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pp. ix-

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Preface

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pp. xi-xvi

“With His Pistol in His Hand”: A Border Ballad and Its Hero (1958), Américo Paredes’s most-acclaimed work, generated a considerable amount of interest and enthusiasm during the rise of the Chicano movement. The text provided young activists with a convincing literary document of Mexican American resistance against U.S. hegemony. ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xviii

Many people provided encouragement and assistance with this book, too many to list here in the acknowledgments. But special thanks are due to the following people. To Am

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Chapter 1: The Lower Rio Grande Border

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pp. 1-32

When the forty-year-old Américo Paredes was writing his dissertation, which would become the basis of his best-known book, “With His Pistol in His Hand”: A Border Ballad and Its Hero (1958), he drew on memories of his youth. He was especially mindful of those quiet “summer nights, in the days when there was a chaparral,” ...

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Chapter 2: His Life and Work

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pp. 33-69

Am

Image plates follow page 69

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Chapter 3: “With His Pistol in His Hand”

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pp. 70-96

Américo Paredes discovered what could be considered a distinct Chicano perspective—in terms of literary style and content—with “el corrido de Gregorio Cortez,” a ballad of border conflict. The Mexico-Tejano performer and scholar merged a Mexican oral legacy with a Protestant Anglo- Saxon literary tradition to challenge ...

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Chapter 4: Toward New Perspectives in Folklore and Cultural Anthropology

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pp. 97-126

A principal claim of this book is that Américo Paredes articulated an idea of performance that anticipated the postmodern movement in cultural anthropology—a movement that inspires the protection of primitive and local cultures from First World attempts to reorganize them. His take on cultural performance foreshadows ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 127-132

When Am

Notes

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pp. 133-148

Works of Am

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pp. 149-156

Bibliography

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pp. 157-166

Index

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pp. 167-169


E-ISBN-13: 9781603445368
E-ISBN-10: 1603445366
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585445363
Print-ISBN-10: 1585445363

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos.
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Rio Grande/Río Bravo Series: Borderlands Culture and Traditions

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Authors, American -- 20th century -- Biography.
  • Paredes, Américo.
  • Mexican American authors -- Texas -- Biography.
  • Paredes, Américo. With his pistol in his hand.
  • Folklorists -- United States -- Biography.
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