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Area and Ethnic Studies > American Studies > Hispanic American Studies

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Democratizing Texas Politics Cover

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Democratizing Texas Politics

Race, Identity, and Mexican American Empowerment, 1945-2002

By Benjamin Márquez

A senior scholar of Latino political action examines the intriguing incongruities in post–WWII Texas politics, particularly the curious flourishing of Latino leadership during the state’s simultaneous transition to conservatism.

Departing at Dawn Cover

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Departing at Dawn

Gloria Lise

Gloria Lisé's novel describes the neofascist military dictatorship in Argentina (1976-83) from an intimate point of view. It is a powerful portrait of Argentines caught up in the traumas that have haunted their country ever since. Lisé’s lyrical story revolves around Berta, who watches as her lover, a union organizer, is thrown from a balcony to his death the night before military dictator General Jorge Rafael Videla comes to power. Learning that she is on a list to be ‘disappeared,’ Berta flees to live with relatives in the countryside. She receives messages from her town, describing the violence of the junta, and when Berta discovers that government officials are still looking for her, she is forced into exile.

Dialectics of Exile Cover

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Dialectics of Exile

Nation, Time, Language, and Space in Hispanic Literatures

by Sophia McClennen

The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language and Space in Hispanic Literatures offers a theory of exile writing that accounts for the persistence of these dual impulses and for the ways that they often co exist within the same literary works.

Digital Dilemmas Cover

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Digital Dilemmas

The State, the Individual, and Digital Media in Cuba

Cristina Venegas

Digital Dilemmas views Cuba from the Soviet Union's demise to the present, to assess how conflicts over media access play out in their both liberating and repressive potential. Drawing on extensive scholarship and interviews, Cristina Venegas questions myths of how Internet use necessarily fosters global democracy and reveals the impact of new technologies on the country's governance and culture, including film in the context of broader media history, as well as artistic practices such as digital art and networks of diasporic communities connected by the Web.

Disenchanting Citizenship Cover

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Disenchanting Citizenship

Mexican Migrants and the Boundaries of Belonging

Luis Plascencia

Central to contemporary debates in the United States on migration and migrant policy is the idea of citizenship, and—as apparent in the continued debate over Arizona’s immigration law SB 1070—this issue remains a focal point of contention, with a key concern being whether there should be a path to citizenship for “undocumented” migrants. In Disenchanting Citizenship, Luis F. B. Plascencia examines two interrelated issues: U.S. citizenship and the Mexican migrants’ position in the United States. The book explores the meaning of U.S. citizenship through the experience of a unique group of Mexican migrants who were granted Temporary Status under the “legalization” provisions of the 1986 IRCA, attained Lawful Permanent Residency, and later became U.S. citizens. Plascencia integrates an extensive and multifaceted collection of interviews, ethnographic fieldwork, ethno-historical research, and public policy analysis in examining efforts that promote the acquisition of citizenship, the teaching of citizenship classes, and naturalization ceremonies. Ultimately, he unearths citizenship’s root as a Janus-faced construct that encompasses a simultaneous process of inclusion and exclusion. This notion of citizenship is mapped on to the migrant experience, arguing that the acquisition of citizenship can lead to disenchantment with the very status desired. In the end, Plascencia expands our understanding of the dynamics of U.S. citizenship as a form of membership and belonging.

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Domestic Negotiations

Gender, Nation, and Self-Fashioning in US Mexicana and Chicana Literature and Art

Marci R. McMahon

This interdisciplinary study explores how US Mexicana and Chicana authors and artists across different historical periods and regions use domestic space to actively claim their own histories. Through “negotiation”—a concept that accounts for artistic practices outside the duality of resistance/accommodation—and “self-fashioning,” Marci R. McMahon demonstrates how the very sites of domesticity are used to engage the many political and recurring debates about race, gender, and immigration affecting Mexicanas and Chicanas from the early twentieth century to today.

Domestic Negotiations
covers a range of archival sources and cultural productions, including the self-fashioning of the “chili queens” of San Antonio, Texas, Jovita González’s romance novel Caballero, the home economics career and cookbooks of Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Sandra Cisneros’s “purple house controversy” and her acclaimed text The House on Mango Street, Patssi Valdez’s self-fashioning and performance of domestic space in Asco and as a solo artist, Diane Rodríguez’s performance of domesticity in Hollywood television and direction of domestic roles in theater, and Alma López’s digital prints of domestic labor in Los Angeles. With intimate close readings, McMahon shows how Mexicanas and Chicanas shape domestic space to construct identities outside of gendered, racialized, and xenophobic rhetoric.

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Dos Mundos

Rural Mexican Americans, Another America

Richard Baker

Mexican Americans make up the largest minority in Idaho, yet they seemingly live in a different world from the dominant Anglo population, and because of pervasive stereotypes and exclusive policies, their participation in the community's social, economic, and political life is continually impeded.

This unique ethnographic study of a small Idaho community with a large Hispanic population examines many dimensions of the impact race relations have on everyday life for rural Mexican Americans.

Dream Nation Cover

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Dream Nation

Puerto Rican Culture and the Fictions of Independence

by María Acosta Cruz

Over the past fifty years, Puerto Rican voters have roundly rejected any calls for national independence. Yet the rhetoric and iconography of independence have been defining features of Puerto Rican literature and culture. In the provocative new book Dream Nation, María Acosta Cruz investigates the roots and effects of this profound disconnect between cultural fantasy and political reality.Bringing together texts from Puerto Rican literature, history, and popular culture, Dream Nation shows how imaginings of national independence have served many competing purposes. They have given authority to the island’s literary and artistic establishment but have also been a badge of countercultural cool. These ideas have been fueled both by nostalgia for an imagined past and by yearning for a better future. They have fostered local communities on the island, and still helped define Puerto Rican identity within U.S. Latino culture.In clear, accessible prose, Acosta Cruz takes us on a journey from the 1898 annexation of Puerto Rico to the elections of 2012, stopping at many cultural touchstones along the way, from the canonical literature of the Generación del 30 to the rap music of Tego Calderón. Dream Nation thus serves both as a testament to how stories, symbols, and heroes of independence have inspired the Puerto Rican imagination and as an urgent warning about how this culture has become detached from the everyday concerns of the island’s people.A volume in the American Literature Initiatives series

Encarnacion:Illness and Body Politics in Chicana Feminist Literature Cover

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Encarnacion:Illness and Body Politics in Chicana Feminist Literature

Illness and Body Politics in Chicana Feminist Literature

Suzanne Bost

Encarnacicn takes a new look at identity. Following the contemporary movement away from the fixed categories of identity politics toward a more fluid conception of the intersections between identities and communities, this book analyzes the ways in which literature and philosophy draw boundaries around identity.The works of Gloria AnzaldLa, Cherr!e Moraga, and Ana Castillo, in particular, enable us to examine how identities shift and intersect with others through processes of incarnation.Since the 1980s, critics have come to equate these writers with Chicana feminist identity politics. This critical trend, however, has been unable to account for these writers' increasing emphasis on bodies that are sick, disabled, permeable, and, oftentimes, mystical.Encarnacicn thus turns our attention to aspects of these writers' work that are usually ignored-AnzaldLa's autobiographical writings about diabetes, Moraga's narrative about her premature baby's medical treatments, and Castillo's figure of a polio-afflicted flamenco dancer-to explore the political and cultural dimensions of illness.Concerned equally with the medical-surgical interventions available in our postmodern age and with the ways of understanding bodies in the Native American and Catholic traditions these writers invoke, Encarnacicn develops a model for identity that expands beyond the boundaries of individual bodies. The book argues that this model has greater utility for feminism than identity politics because it values human variability, sensation, and openness to others. The methodology of the study is as permeable as the bodies and identities it analyzes. The book brings together discourses as disparate as Mesoamerican anthropology, art history, feminist spirituality, feminist biology, phenomenology, postmodern theory, disability studies, and autobiographical narrative in order to expand our thinking beyond what disciplinary boundaries allow.

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Ethnic Cues

The Role of Shared Ethnicity in Latino Political Participation

Matt A. Barreto

New theoretical propositions, original data, and rigorous empirical tests are what one looks for in cutting-edge social science. Fortunately, all three are apparent in Ethnic Cues. The author has pushed his thinking to develop new ways of understanding and explaining patterns of Latino voting behavior. ---Luis Ricardo Fraga, University of Washington, Seattle "Matt Barreto investigates some of the ramifications of two new related developments in American political life: the stunning growth of the Latino immigrant population in recent decades and the accompanying exponential explosion in the number of Latino candidates running for political office at the local, state, and national levels." ---Reuel R. Rogers, Northwestern University Until recently, much of the research on political participation has resisted the idea that Latino voters rely on ethnic cues. The discussion has become increasingly salient as political strategists have learned to define individual voting blocs and mobilize them in support of a candidate. Nourished by the debate over immigration, the search for the Latino voter has now blossomed into a national political obsession. Against this background, Matt A. Barreto assays the influence of ethnic identification on Latinos' voting behavior. Barreto asks whether the presence of co-ethnic candidates actually does mobilize Latino voters in support of these candidates. His analysis of in-depth candidate interviews, public opinion surveys, official election results, and statistics finds that it does. He goes on to describe the dynamic of voting in the Latino community and sharpens our appreciation of how ethnic considerations influence the electoral choices of Americans more generally. In a time of intensely focused campaign appeals, Barreto's work has much to tell us about the mechanics of public opinion and the role of race and ethnicity in voting behavior. Matt A. Barreto is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington and Director of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Sexuality (WISER). Cover art credit: © iStockphoto.com/P_Wei

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