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Area and Ethnic Studies > American Studies > Hispanic American Studies

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Hispanic Immigrant Literature Cover

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Hispanic Immigrant Literature

El Sueño del Retorno

By Nicolás Kanellos

The first comprehensive study of literary works created both orally and in writing by immigrants to the United States from the Hispanic world since the early nineteenth century.

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Home Girls: Chicana Literary Voices

"Home Girls makes an original, bold, and significant contribution to feminist studies, Chicana/o studies, and literature. Quintana accomplishes what few critics in Chicana/o studies have done: she applies different interpretive paradigms to her reading of Chicana texts, blending ethnography with literary criticism, ideological analysis with semiotics. Her reading of literary texts is rich in texture and detail." —Rosa Linda Fregoso, author of Bronze Screen: Chicana and Chicano Film Culture Chicana writers in the United States write to inspire social change, to challenge a patriarchal and homophobic culture, to redefine traditional gender roles, to influence the future. Alvina E. Quintana examines how Chicana writers engage literary convention through fiction, poetry, drama, and autobiography as a means of addressing these motives. Her analysis of the writings of Gloria Anzaldua, Ana Castillo, Denise Chavez, Sandra Cisneros, and Cherrie Moraga addresses a multitude of issues: the social and political forces that influenced the Chicana aesthetic; Chicana efforts to open a dialogue about the limitation of both Anglo-American feminism and Chicano nationalism; experimentations with content and form; the relationship between imaginative writing and self-reflexive ethnography; and performance, domesticity, and sexuality. Employing anthropological, feminist, historical, and literary sources, Quintana explores the continuity found among Chicanas writing across varied genres—a drive to write themselves into being.

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Homecoming Queers

Desire and Difference in Chicana Latina Cultural Production

Marivel T. Danielson

Homecoming Queers provides a critical discussion of the multiple strategies used by queer Latina authors and artists in the United States to challenge silence and invisibility within mainstream media, literary canons, and theater spaces. Marivel T. Danielson's analysis reveals the extensive legacy of these cultural artists, including novelists, filmmakers, students and activists, comedians, performers, and playwrights. By clearly discussing the complexities and universalities of ethnic, racial, sexual, gender, and class intersections between queer Chicana and U.S. Latinas, Danielson explores the multiple ways identity shapes and shades creative expression.

How Did You Get To Be Mexican Cover

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How Did You Get To Be Mexican

This compelling account of racial identity takes a close look at the question "Who is a Latino?" and determines where persons of mixed Latino-Anglo heritage fit into the racial dynamics of the United States. The son of a Mexican American mother and an Anglo father, Kevin Johnson has spent his life in the borderlands between racial identities. In this insightful book, he uses his experiences as a mixed Latino-Anglo to examine issues of diversity, assimilation, race relations, and affirmative action in contemporary America.

Identity And Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity Cover

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Identity And Power: Puerto Rican Politics and the Challenge of Ethnicity

On the surface, identity politics appears to promote polarization. To the contrary, political scientist Jose E. Cruz argues that, instead, fragmentation and instability are more likely to occur only when the differences are ignored and nonethnic strategies are employed. Cruz illustrates his claim by focusing on one group of Puerto Ricans and how they mobilized to demand accountability from political leaders in Hartford, Connecticut.

The activities of the Puerto Rican Political Action Committee from 1983 to 1991 illustrate the power of ethnic mobilization and strategy in an urban setting. Cruz examines their insistence on their right to be included in the political process in the context of both a typical mid-sized American city and the unique attributes of Hartford's predominantly white-collar population. At the same time, this study acknowledges the limitations of the exercise of such power in the political process.

Through extensive interviews Cruz brings to light the variety of ways in which politicians and political activists themselves view their own activities and achievements. This group of Puerto Rican activists attempted to penetrate the power structure of Hartford. Though their success was limited, their work constitutes a springboard for further change.

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An Impossible Living in a Transborder World

culture, confianza, and economy of Mexican-origin populations

By Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez

They are known as cundinas or tandas in Mexico, and for many people these local savings-and-loan operations play an indispensable role in the struggle to succeed in today's transborder economy. With this extensively researched book, Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez updates and expands upon his major 1983 study of rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs), incorporating new data that reflect the explosion of Mexican-origin populations in the United States. Much more than a study of one economic phenomenon though, the book examines the way in which these practices are part of greater transnational economies and how these populations engage in--and suffer through--the twenty-first century global economy.

Central to the ROSCA is the cultural concept of mutual trust, or confianza. This is the cultural glue that holds the reciprocal relationship together. As Vélez-Ibáñez explains, confianza "shapes the expectations for relationships within broad networks of interpersonal links, in which intimacies, favors, goods, services, emotion, power, or information are exchanged." In a border region where migration, class movement, economic changes, and institutional inaccessibility produce a great deal of uncertainty, Mexican-origin populations rely on confianza and ROSCAs to maintain a sense of security in daily life. How do transborder people adapt these common practices to meet the demands of a global economy? That is precisely what Vélez-Ibáñez investigates.

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In the Shadow of the Giant

The Americanization of Modern Mexico

Joseph Contreras

The influx of Mexican immigrants to the United States throughout the years has impacted our culture, labor force, and economy. Often these individuals are blamed for the perceived ills they bring to this country. Yet few people ever consider the profound influence that the United States has on Mexico. In this first book to view modern Mexico in the era of NAFTA and globalization, In the Shadow of the Giant offers insight into the land on our southern border.What we find is a nation that looks more like the United States than even Mexicans themselves could have imagined a decade ago: Rates of obesity are second only to the United States among the world's industrialized countries. Recreational drug use is soaring among young Mexicans Citigroup owns the largest bank in Mexico Wal-Mart is the country's biggest private employer revealing a vastly different physical and cultural landscape from his days as a young journalist living in Mexico in the mid-1980s, Joseph Contreras tracks the relentless and ongoing Americanization of his ancestral home. Although these changes may seem a natural part of globalization, the country had long prided itself on the social, political, economic and even spiritual differences that distinguished it from the United States. In addition to embracing our virtues and vices, Contreras argues that our southern neighbor has become a de facto economic colony of the United States.At a time when immigration looms as a leading hot-button issue in American politics, the time is ripe for examining our influences, for better or worse, on our neighbor to the south.

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Indianizing Film

Decolonization, the Andes, and the Question of Technology

Freya Schiwy

Focusing on films from Bolivia, Ecuador and Columbia, Indianizing Film encourages readers to consider how indigenous media contributes to a wider understanding of decolonization and anticolonial study against the universal backdrop of the twenty-first century. Through questions of gender, power, and representation Schiwy argues that, instead of solely creating entertainment, through their work indigenous media activists are building communication networks that encourage interaction between diverse cultures. As a result, mainstream images are retooled, permitting communities to strengthen their cultures and express their own visions of development and modernization.

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Inhabiting La Patria

Identity, Agency, and Antojo in the Work of Julia Alvarez

Examines the work of prolific Dominican American writer Julia Alvarez.

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Intimacy Across Borders

Race, Religion, and Migration in the U.S. Midwest

Examining how encounters produced by migration lead to intimacies-ranging from sexual, spiritual, and neighborly to hateful and violent, Jane Juffer considers the significant changes that have occurred in small towns following an influx of Latinos to the Midwest.

Intimacy across Borders
situates the story of the Dutch Reformed Church in Iowa and South Africa within a larger analysis of race, religion, and globalization. Drawing on personal narrative, ethnography, and sociopolitical critique, Juffer shows how migration to rural areas can disrupt even the most thoroughly entrenched religious beliefs and transform the schools, churches, and businesses that form the heart of small-town America. Conversely, such face-to-face encounters can also generate hatred, as illustrated in the increasing number of hate crimes against Latinos and the passage of numerous anti-immigrant ordinances. 

Juffer demonstrates how Latino migration to new areas of the U.S. threatens certain groups because it creates the potential for new kinds of families—mixed race, mixed legal status, and transnational—that challenge the conservative definition of community based on the racially homogeneous, coupled, citizen family. 

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