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Area and Ethnic Studies > American Studies > Hispanic American Studies

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Intimacy Across Borders Cover

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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. 

An Island Called Home Cover

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An Island Called Home

Returning to Jewish Cuba

Ruth Behar

Yiddish-speaking Jews thought Cuba was supposed to be a mere layover on the journey to the United States when they arrived in the island country in the 1920s. They even called it “Hotel Cuba.” But then the years passed, and the many Jews who came there from Turkey, Poland, and war-torn Europe stayed in Cuba. The beloved island ceased to be a hotel, and Cuba eventually became “home.” But after Fidel Castro came to power in 1959, the majority of the Jews opposed his communist regime and left in a mass exodus. Though they remade their lives in the United States, they mourned the loss of the Jewish community they had built on the island.

            As a child of five, Ruth Behar was caught up in the Jewish exodus from Cuba. Growing up in the United States, she wondered about the Jews who stayed behind. Who were they and why had they stayed? What traces were left of the Jewish presence, of the cemeteries, synagogues, and Torahs? Who was taking care of this legacy? What Jewish memories had managed to survive the years of revolutionary atheism?

            An Island Called Home is the story of Behar’s journey back to the island to find answers to these questions. Unlike the exotic image projected by the American media, Behar uncovers a side of Cuban Jews that is poignant and personal. Her moving vignettes of the individuals she meets are coupled with the sensitive photographs of Havana-based photographer Humberto Mayol, who traveled with her.

            Together, Behar’s poetic and compassionate prose and Mayol’s shadowy and riveting photographs create an unforgettable portrait of a community that many have seen though few have understood. This book is the first to show both the vitality and the heartbreak that lie behind the project of keeping alive the flame of Jewish memory in Cuba.

Josè Vasconcelos Cover

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Josè Vasconcelos

The Prophet of Race

Ilan Stavans

Jose Vasconcelos was a controversial Mexican scholar who fostered an alternative view of the future. In Jose Vasconcelos: The Prophet of Race, his influential 1925 essay, "Mestizaje"- key to understanding the role he played in the shaping of multiethnic America-is for the first time showcased and properly analyzed. Ilan Stavans insightfully and comprehensively examines the essay in biographical and historical context, and considers how many in the United States, especially Chicanos during the civil rights era, used it as a platform for their political agenda.

Killer Crónicas Cover

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Killer Crónicas

Bilingual Memories

Susana Chavez-Silverman

A woman living and communicating in multiple lands, Susana Chávez-Silverman conveys her cultural and linguistic displacement in humorous, bittersweet, and even tangible ways in this truly bilingual literary work. These meditative and lyrical pieces combine poignant personal confession, detailed daily observation, and a memorializing drive that shifts across time and among geocultural spaces. The author’s inventive and flamboyant use of Spanglish, a hybrid English-Spanish idiom, and her adaptation of the confessional "crónica" make this memoir compelling and powerful. Killer Crónicas confirms that there is no Latina voice quite like that of Susana Chávez-Silverman.

Includes a chapter that was awarded first prize in El Andar magazine’s Chicano Literary Excellence Contest in the category of personal memoir.

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Kineño Remembers

From the King Ranch to the White House

By Lauro F. Cavazos

On September 20, 1988, Lauro Cavazos became the first Hispanic in the history of the United States to be appointed to the Cabinet, when thenvice president George H. W. Bush swore him in as secretary of education. Cavazos, born on the legendary King Ranch in South Texas and educated in a two-room ranch schoolhouse, served until December 1990, after which he returned to his career in medical education and academic administration. In this engaging memoir, he recounts not only his years in Washington but also the childhood influences and life experiences that informed his policies in office. The ranch, he says, taught him how to live. These pages are full of glimpses into life on the famous ranch. Cavazos tells of Christmas parties, cattle work, and schooling. In his home, he was introduced to a natural bilingualism: he and his siblings were encouraged to speak only English with their father and only Spanish with their mother. Cavazos describes the high educational expectations his parents held. After service in World War II, Cavazos went to college and earned a doctorate from Iowa State University, launching him on a career in medical education. In 1980 he returned to his alma mater, Texas Tech University, as its tenth presidentthe first Hispanic and the first graduate of the university to serve in that post. As secretary of education, Cavazos stressed a commitment to reading. Indeed, he once told a group of educators that the curriculum for the first three years of school should be “reading, reading, and more reading.” His career is as interesting as it is inspiring, and Cavazos’ memoir joins the ranks of emerging success stories by Mexican Americans that will provide models for aspiring young people today.

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La Sociedad

Guardians of Hispanic Culture Along the Río Grande

José A. Rivera

Beginning with the social and economic conditions that gave rise to La Sociedad and culminating with its centennial anniversary in 2000, José Rivera examines the SPMDTU as a case study of collective action in the context of a pluralistic American society, rapid social change, and the dynamics of mobilization for cultural survival. Rivera’s study explores the core values that have bonded SPMDTU members across generations and have sustained the organization for more than a century and addresses the question of whether or not La Sociedad will survive in the twenty-first century.

Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland Cover

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Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland

Changing Social Landscapes in Middle America

Linda Allegro

Responding to inaccuracies concerning Latino immigrants in the United States as well as an anti-immigrant strain in the American psyche, this collection of essays examines the movement of the Latin American labor force to the central states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa. Contributors look at the outside factors that affect migration including corporate agriculture, technology, globalization, and government, as well as factors that have attracted Latin Americans to the Heartland including religion, strong family values, hard work, farming, and cowboy culture. Several essays also point to hostile neoliberal policy reforms that have made it difficult for Latino Americans to find social and economic stability. The varied essays in Latin American Migrations to the U.S. Heartland seek to reveal the many ways in which identities, economies, and geographies are changing as Latin Americans adjust to their new homes, jobs, and communities. Contributors are Linda Allegro, Tisa M. Anders, Scott Carter, Caitlin Didier, Miranda Cady Hallett, Edmund Hamann, Albert Iaroi, Errol D. Jones, Jane Juffer, Laszlo J. Kulcsar, Janelle Reeves, Jennifer F. Reynolds, Sandi Smith-Nonini, and Andrew Grant Wood.

The Latina Advantage Cover

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The Latina Advantage

Gender, Race, and Political Success

By Christina E. Bejarano

Challenging common assumptions and offering new alternatives in the debate over the current political status of women, this data-driven study indicates that minority female political candidates often have a strong advantage over male opponents when seeking political office.

Latinas in the United States, set Cover

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Latinas in the United States, set

A Historical Encyclopedia

Edited by Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sánchez Korrol

Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia records the contribution of women of Latin American birth or heritage to the economic and cultural development of the United States. The encyclopedia, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz and Virginia Sánchez-Korrol, is the first comprehensive gathering of scholarship on Latinas. This encyclopedia will serve as an essential reference for decades to come.

In more than 580 entries, the historical and cultural narratives of Latinas come to life. From mestizo settlement, pioneer life, and diasporic communities, the encyclopedia details the contributions of women as settlers, comadres, and landowners, as organizers and nuns. More than 200 scholars explore the experiences of Latinas during and after EuroAmerican colonization and conquest; the early-19th-century migration of Puerto Ricans and Cubans; 20th-century issues of migration, cultural tradition, labor, gender roles, community organization, and politics; and much more. Individual biographical entries profile women who have left their mark on the historical and cultural landscape.

With more than 300 photographs, Latinas in the United States offers a mosaic of historical experiences, detailing how Latinas have shaped their own lives, cultures, and communities through mutual assistance and collective action, while confronting the pressures of colonialism, racism, discrimination, sexism, and poverty.

"Meant for scholars and general readers, this is a great resource on Latinas and historical topics connected with them." -- curledup.com

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