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Area and Ethnic Studies > American Studies > Hispanic American Studies

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Blood Lines

Myth, Indigenism, and Chicana/o Literature

By Sheila Marie Contreras

Blood Lines: Myth, Indigenism, and Chicana/o Literature examines a broad array of texts that have contributed to the formation of an indigenous strand of Chicano cultural politics. In particular, this book exposes the ethnographic and poetic discourses that shaped the aesthetics and stylistics of Chicano nationalism and Chicana feminism. Contreras offers original perspectives on writers ranging from Alurista and Gloria Anzaldúa to Lorna Dee Cervantes and Alma Luz Villanueva, effectively marking the invocation of a Chicano indigeneity whose foundations and formulations can be linked to U.S. and British modernist writing. By highlighting intertextualities such as those between Anzaldúa and D. H. Lawrence, Contreras critiques the resilience of primitivism in the Mexican borderlands. She questions established cultural perspectives on “the native,” which paradoxically challenge and reaffirm racialized representations of Indians in the Americas. In doing so, Blood Lines brings a new understanding to the contradictory and richly textured literary relationship that links the projects of European modernism and Anglo-American authors, on the one hand, and the imaginary of the post-revolutionary Mexican state and Chicano/a writers, on the other hand.

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Bodies in Crisis

Culture, Violence, and Women's Resistance in Neoliberal Argentina

Barbara Sutton

Born and raised in Argentina and still maintaining significant ties to the area, Barbara Sutton examines the complex, and often hidden, bodily worlds of diverse women in that country during a period of profound social upheaval. Based primarily on women's experiential narratives and set against the backdrop of a severe economic crisis and intensified social movement activism post-2001, Bodies in Crisis illuminates how multiple forms of injustice converge in and are contested through women's bodies. Sutton reveals the bodily scars of neoliberal globalization; women's negotiation of cultural norms of femininity and beauty; experiences with clandestine, illegal, and unsafe abortions; exposure to and resistance against interpersonal and structural violence; and the role of bodies as tools and vehicles of political action.

Through the lens of women's body consciousness in a Global South country, and drawing on multifaceted stories and a politically embedded approach, Bodies in Crisis suggests that social policy, economic systems, cultural ideologies, and political resistance are ultimately fleshly matters.

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The Border Crossed Us

Rhetorics of Borders, Citizenship, and Latina/o Identity

The Border Crossed Us explores efforts to restrict and expand notions of US citizenship as they relate specifically to the US-Mexico border and Latina/o identity.

Borders and citizenship go hand in hand. Borders define a nation as a territorial entity and create the parameters for national belonging. But the relationship between borders and citizenship breeds perpetual anxiety over the purported sanctity of the border, the security of a nation, and the integrity of civic identity.

In The Border Crossed Us, Josue David Cisneros addresses these themes as they relate to the US-Mexico border, arguing that issues ranging from the Mexican-American War of 1846–1848 to contemporary debates about Latina/o immigration and border security are negotiated rhetorically through public discourse. He explores these rhetorical battles through case studies of specific Latina/o struggles for civil rights and citizenship, including debates about Mexican American citizenship in the 1849 California Constitutional Convention, 1960s Chicana/o civil rights movements, and modern-day immigrant activism.

Cisneros posits that borders—both geographic and civic—have crossed and recrossed Latina/o communities throughout history (the book’s title derives from the popular activist chant, “We didn’t cross the border; the border crossed us!”) and that Latina/os in the United States have long contributed to, struggled with, and sought to cross or challenge the borders of belonging, including race, culture, language, and gender.

The Border Crossed Us illuminates the enduring significance and evolution of US borders and citizenship, and provides programmatic and theoretical suggestions for the continued study of these critical issues.

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Border Renaissance

The Texas Centennial and the Emergence of Mexican American Literature

By John Morán González

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.

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Border Rhetorics

Citizenship and Identity on the US-Mexico Frontier

Edited by D. Robert DeChaine

Border Rhetorics is a collection of essays that undertakes a wide-ranging examination of the US-Mexico border as it functions in the rhetorical production of civic unity in the United States.

A “border” is a powerful and versatile concept, variously invoked as the delineation of geographical territories, as a judicial marker of citizenship, and as an ideological trope for defining inclusion and exclusion. It has implications for both the empowerment and subjugation of any given populace. Both real and imagined, the border separates a zone of physical and symbolic exchange whose geographical, political, economic, and cultural interactions bear profoundly on popular understandings and experiences of citizenship and identity. 

The border’s rhetorical significance is nowhere more apparent, nor its effects more concentrated, than on the frontier between the United States and Mexico. Often understood as an unruly boundary in dire need of containment from the ravages of criminals, illegal aliens, and other undesirable threats to the national body, this geopolitical locus exemplifies how normative constructions of “proper” border relations reinforce definitions of US citizenship, which in turn can lead to anxiety, unrest, and violence centered around the struggle to define what it means to be a member of a national political community.  

Bernadette Marie Calafell / Karma R. Chávez / Josue David Cisneros / D. Robert DeChaine / Anne Teresa Demo / Lisa A. Flores / Dustin Bradley Goltz / Marouf Hasian Jr. / Michelle A. Holling / Julia R. Johnson / Zach Justus / Diane M. Keeling / John Louis Lucaites / George F. McHendry Jr. / Toby Miller / Kent A. Ono / Brian L. Ott / Kimberlee Pérez / Mary Ann Villarreal

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The Borderlands of Race

Mexican Segregation in a South Texas Town

By Jennifer Najera

Using oral histories and local archives, this historical ethnography analyzes how and why Mexican American individuals unevenly experienced racial dominance and segregation in South Texas.

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Borderlands Saints

Secular Sanctity in Chicano/a and Mexican Culture

by Desirée A. Martín

In Borderlands Saints, Desirée A. Martín examines the rise and fall of popular saints and saint-like figures in the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. Focusing specifically on Teresa Urrea (La Santa de Cabora), Pancho Villa, César Chávez, Subcomandante Marcos, and Santa Muerte, she traces the intersections of these figures, their devotees, artistic representations, and dominant institutions with an eye for the ways in which such unofficial saints mirror traditional spiritual practices and serve specific cultural needs.Popular spirituality of this kind engages the use and exchange of relics, faith healing, pilgrimages, and spirit possession, exemplifying the contradictions between high and popular culture, human and divine, and secular and sacred. Martín focuses upon a wide range of Mexican and Chicano/a cultural works drawn from the nineteenth century to the present, covering such diverse genres as the novel, the communiqué, drama, the essay or crónica, film, and contemporary digital media. She argues that spiritual practice is often represented as narrative, while narrative—whether literary, historical, visual, or oral—may modify or even function as devotional practice.

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Borderless Borders

Frank Bonilla

This new reality -- the Latinization of the United States -- is driven by forces that reach well beyond U.S. borders. It asserts itself demographically, politically, in the workplace, and in daily life. The perception that Latinos are now positioned to help bring about change in the Americas from within the United States has taken hold, sparking renewed interest and specific initiatives by hemispheric governments to cultivate new forms of relationships with emigrant communities.

Borderless Borders describes the structural processes and active interventions taking place inside and outside U.S. Latino communities. After a context-setting introduction by urban planner Rebecca Morales, the contributors focus on four themes.  Economist Manuel Pastor Jr., urban sociologist Saskia Sassen, and political scientist Carol Wise look at emerging forms of global and transnational interdependence and at whether they are likely to produce individuals who are economically independent or simply more dependent. Sociologist Jorge Chapa, social anthropologist Maria P. Fernandez Kelly, and economist Edwin Melendez examine the negative impact of economic and political restructuring within the United States,especially within Latino communities. Performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena, legal scholar Gerald Torres, political scientist Maria de los Angeles Torres, and modern language specialist Silvio Torres-Saillant consider the implications -- for community formation, citizenship, political participation, and human rights -- of the fact that individuals are forced to construct identities for themselves in more than one sociopolitical setting. Finally, sociologist Jeremy Brecher, sociologist Frank Bonilla, and political scientist Pedro Caban speculate on new paths into international relations and issue-oriented social movements and organizations among these mobile populations. To supplement the written contributions, Painter Bibiana Suarez has chosen several artworks that contribute to the interdisciplinary scope of the book.

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Born of Resistance

Cara a Cara Encounters with Chicana/o Visual Culture

Edited by Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell

This collection of essays interrogates the most contested social, political, and aesthetic concept in Chicana/o cultural studies—resistance.

If Chicana/o culture was born of resistance amid assimilation and nationalistic forces, how has it evolved into the twenty-first century? This groundbreaking volume redresses the central idea of resistance in Chicana/o visual cultural expression through nine clustered discussions, each coordinating scholarly, critical, curatorial, and historical contextualizations alongside artist statements and interviews. Landmark artistic works—illustrations, paintings, sculpture, photography, film, and television—anchor each section. Contributors include David Avalos, Mel Casas, Ester Hernández, Nicholas Herrera, Luis Jiménez, Ellen Landis, Yolanda López, Richard Lou, Delilah Montoya, Laura Pérez, Lourdes Portillo, Luis Tapia, Chuy Treviño, Willie Varela, Kathy Vargas, René Yañez, Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, and more. Cara a cara, face-to-face, encounters across the collection reveal the varied richness of resistant strategies, movidas, as they position crucial terms of debate surrounding resistance, including subversion, oppression, affirmation, and identification.

The essays in the collection represent a wide array of perspectives on Chicana/o visual culture. Editors Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell have curated a dialog among the many voices, creating an important new volume that redefines the role of resistance in Chicana/o visual arts and cultural expression.

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Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation

Drug Trafficking and the Law in Central America

Julie Marie Bunck

Bribes, Bullets, and Intimidation is the first account ever published of drug trafficking through Central America and the efforts of law enforcement to counter it. Julie Bunck and Michael Fowler detail the routes, methods, and networks involved, while comparing the evolution of the drug trade in Belize, Coast Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama over a span of more than three decades.

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