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Chica Lit

Popular Latina Fiction and Americanization in the Twenty-First Century

by Tace Hedrick

In Chica Lit: Popular Latina Fiction and Americanization in the Twenty-First Century, Tace Hedrick illuminates how discourses of Americanization, ethnicity, gender, class, and commodification shape the genre of “chica lit,” popular fiction written by Latina authors with Latina characters. She argues that chica lit is produced and marketed in the same ways as contemporary romance and chick lit fiction, and aimed at an audience of twenty- to thirty-something upwardly mobile Latina readers. Its stories about young women’s ethnic class mobility and gendered romantic success tend to celebrate twenty-first century neoliberal narratives about Americanization, hard work, and individual success. However, Hedrick emphasizes, its focus on Latina characters necessarily inflects this celebratory mode: the elusiveness of meaning in its use of the very term “Latina” empties out the differences among and between Latina/o and Chicano/a groups in the United States. Of necessity, chica lit also struggles with questions about the actual social and economic “place” of Latinas and Chicanas in this same neoliberal landscape; these questions unsettle its reliance on the tried-and-true formulas of chick lit and romance writing. Looking at chica lit’s market-driven representations of difference, poverty, and Americanization, Hedrick shows how this writing functions within the larger arena of struggles over popular representation of Latinas and Chicanas.

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The Chican@ Hip Hop Nation

Politics of a New Millennial Mestizaje

The population of Mexican-origin peoples in the United States is a diverse one, as reflected by age, class, gender, sexuality, and religion. Far from antiquated concepts of mestizaje, recent scholarship has shown that Mexican@/Chican@ culture is a mixture of indigenous, African, and Spanish and other European peoples and cultures. No one reflects this rich blend of cultures better than Chican@ rappers, whose lyrics and iconography can help to deepen our understanding of what it means to be Chican@ or Mexican@ today. While some identify as Mexican mestizos, others identify as indigenous people or base their identities on their class and racial/ethnic makeup. No less significant is the intimate level of contact between Chican@s and black Americans. Via a firm theoretical foundation and a collection of vibrant essays, Pancho McFarland explores the language and ethos of Chican@/Mexican@ hip hop and sheds new light on three distinct identities reflected in the music: indigenous/Mexica, Mexican nationalist/immigrant, and street hopper. With particular attention to the intersection of black and Chicano cultures, the author places exciting recent developments in music forms within the context of progressive social change, social justice, identity, and a new transnational, polycultural America.

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Chicana/o and Latina/o Fiction

The New Memory of Latinidad

Ylce Irizarry

In this new study, Ylce Irizarry moves beyond literature that prioritizes assimilation to examine how contemporary fiction depicts being Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, or Puerto Rican within Chicana/o and Latina/o America. Irizarry establishes four dominant categories of narrative--loss, reclamation, fracture, and new memory--that address immigration, gender and sexuality, cultural nationalisms, and neocolonialism. As she shows, narrative concerns have moved away from the weathered notions of arrival and assimilation. Contemporary Chicana/o and Latina/o literatures instead tell stories that have little, if anything, to do with integration into the Anglo-American world. The result is the creation of new memory. This reformulation of cultural membership unmasks the neocolonial story and charts the conscious engagement of cultural memory. It outlines the ways contemporary Chicana/o and Latina/o communities create belonging and memory of their ethnic origins.

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Chicanas of 18th Street

Narratives of a Movement from Latino Chicago

Leonard G, Ramirez

Overflowing with powerful testimonies of six female community activists who have lived and worked in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, Chicanas of 18th Street reveals the convictions and approaches of those organizing for social reform. In chronicling a pivotal moment in the history of community activism in Chicago, the women discuss how education, immigration, religion, identity, and acculturation affected the Chicano movement. Chicanas of 18th Street underscores the hierarchies of race, gender, and class while stressing the interplay of individual and collective values in the development of community reform._x000B__x000B_Highlighting the women's motivations, initiatives, and experiences in politics during the 1960s and 1970s, these rich personal accounts reveal the complexity of the Chicano movement, conflicts within the movement, and the importance of teatro and cultural expressions to the movement. Also detailed are vital interactions between members of the Chicano movement with leftist and nationalist community members and the influence of other activist groups such as African Americans and Marxists.

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Chicano Studies

The Genesis of a Discipline

Michael Soldatenko

Chicano Studies is a comparatively new academic discipline. Unlike well-established fields of study that long ago codified their canons and curricula, the departments of Chicano Studies that exist today on U.S. college and university campuses are less than four decades old. In this edifying and frequently eye-opening book, a career member of the discipline examines its foundations and early years. Based on an extraordinary range of sources and cognizant of infighting and the importance of personalities, Chicano Studies is the first history of the discipline.

What are the assumptions, models, theories, and practices of the academic discipline now known as Chicano Studies? Like most scholars working in the field, Michael Soldatenko didn't know the answers to these questions even though he had been teaching for many years. Intensely curious, he set out to find the answers, and this book is the result of his labors. Here readers will discover how the discipline came into existence in the late 1960s and how it matured during the next fifteen years-from an often confrontational protest of dissatisfied Chicana/o college students into a univocal scholarly voice (or so it appears to outsiders).

Part intellectual history, part social criticism, and part personal meditation, Chicano Studies attempts to make sense of the collision (and occasional wreckage) of politics, culture, scholarship, ideology, and philosophy that created a new academic discipline. Along the way, it identifies a remarkable cast of scholars and administrators who added considerable zest to the drama.

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The Chronicles of Panchita Villa and Other Guerrilleras

Essays on Chicana/Latina Literature and Criticism

By Tey Diana Rebolledo

Although there have been substantial contributions to Chicana literature and criticism over the past few decades, Chicanas are still underrepresented and underappreciated in the mainstream literary world and virtually nonexistent in the canon. Writers like Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Gloria Anzaldúa have managed to find larger audiences and critical respect, but there are legions of Chicana writers and artists who have been marginalized and ignored despite their talent. Even in Chicano anthologies, the focus has tended to be more on male writers. Chicanas have often found themselves without a real home in the academic world. Tey Diana Rebolledo has been writing about Chicana/Latina identity, literature, discrimination, and feminism for more than two decades. In this collection of essays, she brings together both old and new works to give a state-of-the-moment look at the still largely unanswered questions raised by vigilant women of color throughout the last half of the twentieth century. An intimate introductory essay about Rebolledo's personal experiences as the daughter of a Mexican mother and a Peruvian father serves to lay the groundwork for the rest of the volume. The essays delve into the historical development of Chicana writing and its early narratives, the representation of Chicanas as seen on book covers, Chicana feminism, being a Chicana critic in the academy, Chicana art history, and Chicana creativity. Rebolledo encourages “guerrillera” warfare against academia in order to open up the literary canon to Chicana/Latina writers who deserve validation.

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Clandestine Crossings

Migrants and Coyotes on the Texas-Mexico Border

by David Spener

Clandestine Crossings delivers an in-depth description and analysis of the experiences of working-class Mexican migrants at the beginning of the twenty-first century as they enter the United States surreptitiously with the help of paid guides known as coyotes. Drawing on ethnographic observations of crossing conditions in the borderlands of South Texas, as well as interviews with migrants, coyotes, and border officials, Spener details how migrants and coyotes work together to evade apprehension by U.S. law enforcement authorities as they cross the border. In so doing, he seeks to dispel many of the myths that misinform public debate about undocumented immigration to the United States.

The hiring of a coyote, Spener argues, is one of the principal strategies that Mexican migrants have developed in response to intensified U.S. border enforcement. Although this strategy is typically portrayed in the press as a sinister organized-crime phenomenon, Spener argues that it is better understood as the resistance of working-class Mexicans to an economic model and set of immigration policies in North America that increasingly resemble an apartheid system. In the absence of adequate employment opportunities in Mexico and legal mechanisms for them to work in the United States, migrants and coyotes draw on their social connections and cultural knowledge to stage successful border crossings in spite of the ever greater dangers placed in their path by government authorities.

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Collecting Mexico

Museums, Monuments, and the Creation of National Identity

Shelley E. Garrigan

Collecting Mexico centers on the ways in which aesthetics and commercialism intersected in officially sanctioned public collections and displays in late nineteenth-century Mexico. Shelley E. Garrigan approaches questions of origin, citizenry, membership, and difference by reconstructing the lineage of institutionally collected objects around which a modern Mexican identity was negotiated. In doing so, she arrives at a deeper understanding of the ways in which displayed objects become linked with nationalistic meaning and why they exert such persuasive force.

Spanning the Porfiriato period from 1867 to 1910, Collecting Mexico illuminates the creation and institutionalization of a Mexican cultural inheritance. Employing a wide range of examples—including the erection of public monuments, the culture of fine arts, and the representation of Mexico at the Paris World’s Fair of 1889—Garrigan pursues two strands of thought that weave together in surprising ways: national heritage as a transcendental value and patrimony as potential commercial interest.

Collecting Mexico shows that the patterns of institutional collecting reveal how Mexican public collections engendered social meaning. Using extensive archival materials, Garrigan’s close readings of the processes of collection building offer a new vantage point for viewing larger issues of identity, social position, and cultural/capital exchange.

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Companeros

Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS

Jesus Ramirez-Valles

Telling the affecting stories of eighty gay, bisexual, and transgender (GBT) Latino activists and volunteers living in Chicago and San Francisco, Compañeros: Latino Activists in the Face of AIDS closely details how these individuals have been touched or transformed by the AIDS epidemic. _x000B__x000B_Weaving together activists' responses to oppression and stigma, their encounters with AIDS, and their experiences as GBTs and Latinos in North America and Latin America, Jesus Ramirez-Valles explores the intersection of civic involvement with ethnic and sexual identity. Even as activists battle multiple sources of oppression, they are able to restore their sense of family connection and self-esteem through the creation of an alternative space in which community members find value in their relationships with one another. In demonstrating the transformative effects of a nurturing community environment for GBT Latinos affected by the AIDS epidemic, Ramirez-Valles illustrates that members find support in one another, as compañeros, in their struggles with homophobia, gender discrimination, racism, poverty, and forced migration.

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Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America

edited by Sophia McClennen and Earl Fitz

The scholarship in the volume Comparative Cultural Studies and Latin America represents the proposition that, given its vitality and excellence, Latin American literature deserves a more prominent place in comparative literature publications, curricula, and disciplinary discussions.

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