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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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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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Fray Angélico Chávez

Poet, Priest, and Artist

New Mexico's first Franciscan priest, Fray Angélico Cheavez (1910-1996) is known as a prolific historian, a literary and artistic figure, and an intellectual who played a vital role in Santa Fe's community of writers. The original essays collected here explore his wide-ranging cultural production: fiction, poetry, architectural restoration, journalism, genealogy, translation, and painting and drawing. Several essays discuss his approach to history, his archival research, and the way in which he re-centers ethnic identity in the prevalent Anglo-American master historical narrative. Others examine how he used fiction to bring history alive and combined visual and verbal elements to enhance his narratives. Two essays explore Chávez's profession as a friar. The collection ends with recollections by Thomas E. Chávez, historian and Fray Angélico's nephew. <br /> <br />Readers familiar with Chávez's work as well as those learning about it for the first time will find much that surprises and informs in these essays.

Part of the Pasó por Aquí Series on the Nuevomexicano Literary Heritage

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The Hand and the Glove

Machado de Assis. translated by Albert I. Bagby Jr.

The later novels of Machado de Assis -- notably Dom Casmurro and Esau and Jacob -- are well known in this country, but the earlier novels have never been translated. Here, in The Hand and the Glove (the Brazilian master's second novel), rendered in English for the first time by Albert I. Bagby, Jr., readers will find a younger, gentler Assis, writing a romantic comedy that is yet permeated with the lively wit characteristic of his later works.

The story is a simple one-of love lost and love found. Of love lost by Estêvão, amiable but vacillating, who is bemused by his own romantic posturing, and by Jorge, superficial and calculating. Of love found by Luis Alves, whose self-possession and determination seem destined to carry him far. The love of all three men is the proud and beautiful Guiomar, sure of her own heart but unsure, until faced by rival claims, of where to bestow it -- a foreshadowing of Capitú, the intriguing heroine of Dom Casmurro.

"English-speaking readers," says Helen Caldwell in the Foreword, "who are already acquainted with Machado de Assis will welcome this latest addition to the translated novels. True, it is a period piece; but its quaintness is a charm to carry us back to the Rio de Janeiro of the 1850s -- to vanished courtly elegance arid attitudes.... Now, we too can know what drew [Assis] back to this early tale, for The Hand and the Glove recreates in English the elegant background, the charming heroine, the comedy, and the light-hearted ebullience of the Portuguese original."

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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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In Visible Movement

Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam

Urayoan Noel

Since the 1960s, Nuyorican poets have explored and performed Puerto Rican identity both on and off the page. Emerging within and alongside the civil rights movements of the 1960s, the foundational Nuyorican writers sought to counter the ethnic/racial and institutional invisibility of New York City Puerto Ricans by documenting the reality of their communities in innovative and sometimes challenging ways. Since then, Nuyorican poetry has entered the U.S. Latino literary canon and has gained prominence in light of the spoken-word revival of the past two decades, a movement spearheaded by the Nuyorican Poetry Slams of the 1990s. Today, Nuyorican poetry engages with contemporary social issues such as the commodification of the body, the institutionalization of poetry, the gentrification of the barrio, and the national and global marketing of identity. What has not changed is a continued shared investment in a poetics that links the written word and the performing body.

The first book-length study specifically devoted to Nuyorican poetry, In Visible Movement is unique in its historical and formal breadth, ranging from the foundational poets of the 1960s and 1970s to a variety of contemporary poets emerging in and around the Nuyorican Poets Cafe “slam” scene of the 1990s and early 2000s. It also unearths a largely unknown corpus of poetry performances, reading over forty years of Nuyorican poetry at the intersection of the printed and performed word, underscoring the poetry’s links to vernacular and Afro-Puerto Rican performance cultures, from the island’s oral poets to the New York sounds and rhythms of Latin boogaloo, salsa, and hip-hop. With depth and insight, Urayoán Noel analyzes various canonical Nuyorican poems by poets such as Pedro Pietri, Victor Hernández Cruz, Miguel Algarín, Miguel Piñero, Sandra María Esteves, and Tato Laviera. He discusses historically overlooked poets such as Lorraine Sutton, innovative poets typically read outside the Nuyorican tradition such as Frank Lima and Edwin Torres, and a younger generation of Nuyorican-identified poets including Willie Perdomo, María Teresa Mariposa Fernández, and Emanuel Xavier, whose work has received only limited critical consideration. The result is a stunning reflection of how New York Puerto Rican poets have addressed the complexity of identity amid diaspora for over forty years.

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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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Intersections of Harm

Narratives of Latina Deviance and Defiance

Laura Halperin

In this innovative new study, Laura Halperin examines literary representations of harm inflicted on Latinas’ minds and bodies, and on the places Latinas inhabit, but she also explores how hope can be found amid so much harm. Analyzing contemporary memoirs and novels by Irene Vilar, Loida Maritza Pérez, Ana Castillo, Cristina García, and Julia Alvarez, she argues that the individual harm experienced by Latinas needs to be understood in relation to the collective histories of aggression against their communities. 
 
Intersections of Harm is more than just a nuanced examination of the intersections among race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. It also explores the intersections of deviance and defiance, individual and collective, and mind, body, and place. Halperin proposes that, ironically, the harmful ascriptions of Latina deviance are tied to the hopeful expressions of Latina defiance. While the Latina protagonists’ defiance feeds into the labels of deviance imposed on them, it also fuels the protagonists’ ability to resist such harmful treatment.  In this analysis, Halperin broadens the parameters of literary studies of female madness, as she compels us to shift our understanding of where madness lies. She insists that the madness readily attributed to individual Latinas is entwined with the madness of institutional structures of oppression, and she maintains that psychological harm is bound together with physical and geopolitical harm.
 
In her pan-Latina study, Halperin shows how each writer’s work emerges from a unique set of locales and histories, but she also traces a network of connections among them. Bringing together concepts from feminism, postcolonialism, illness studies, and ecocriticism, Intersections of Harm opens up exciting new avenues for Latina/o studies. 
 
 
 

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The Literatures of the U.S.-Mexican War

Narrative, Time, and Identity

By Jaime Javier Rodríguez

The literary archive of the U.S.-Mexican War (1846–1848) opens to view the conflicts and relationships across one of the most contested borders in the Americas. Most studies of this literature focus on the war’s nineteenth-century moment of national expansion. In The Literatures of the U.S.-Mexican War, Jaime Javier Rodríguez brings the discussion forward to our own moment by charting a new path into the legacies of a military conflict embedded in the cultural cores of both nations. Rodríguez’s groundbreaking study moves beyond the terms of Manifest Destiny to ask a fundamental question: How do the war’s literary expressions shape contemporary tensions and exchanges among Anglo Americans, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans. By probing the war’s traumas, anxieties, and consequences with a fresh attention to narrative, Rodríguez shows us the relevance of the U.S.-Mexican War to our own era of demographic and cultural change. Reading across dime novels, frontline battle accounts, Mexican American writings and a wide range of other popular discourse about the war, Rodríguez reveals how historical awareness itself lies at the center of contemporary cultural fears of a Mexican “invasion,” and how the displacements caused by the war set key terms for the ways Mexican Americans in subsequent generations would come to understand their own identities. Further, this is also the first major comparative study that analyzes key Mexican war texts and their impact on Mexico’s national identity.

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Mexico's Ruins

Juan Garcia Ponce and the Writing of Modernity

At face value, the concept of modernity seems to reference a stream of social and historical traffic headed down a utopian one-way street named “progress.” Mexico’s Ruins examines modernity in twentieth-century Mexican culture as a much more ambiguous concept, arguing that such a single-minded notion is inadequate to comprehend the complexity of modern Mexico’s national projects and their reception by the nation’s citizenry. Instead, through the trope of modernity as ruin, author Raúl Rodríguez-Hernández explores the dilemma presented by the etymology of “ruins”: a simultaneous falling down and rising up, a confluence of opposing forces at work on the skyline of the metropolis since 1968. He focuses on artists and writers of the generación de medio siglo, like Juan García Ponce, and envisions both the tales of modernity and their storytellers in a new light. The arts, literature, and architecture of twentieth-century Mexico are all examined in this cross-cultural and interdisciplinary book.

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