Texas A&M University Press

Rio Grande/Río Bravo Series: Borderlands Culture and Traditions

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

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Rio Grande/Río Bravo Series: Borderlands Culture and Traditions

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Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas

Mexican Workers and Job Politics during World War II

By Emilio Zamora; Foreword by Juan Gómez Quiñones

In Claiming Rights and Righting Wrongs in Texas, Emilio Zamora traces the experiences of Mexican workers on the American home front during World War II as they moved from rural to urban areas and sought better-paying jobs in rapidly expanding industries. Contending that discrimination undermined job opportunities, Zamora investigates the intervention by Mexico in the treatment of workers, the U.S. State Department's response, and Texas' emergence as a key site for negotiating the application of the Good Neighbor Policy. He examines the role of women workers, the evolving political struggle, the rise of the liberal-urban coalition, and the conservative tradition in Texas. Zamora also looks closely at civil and labor rights–related efforts, implemented by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Fair Employment Practice Committee.

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Legacy of Américo Paredes

By José R. López Morín

Américo Paredes (1915–99) is one of the seminal figures in Mexican American studies. With this first book-length biography of Paredes, author José R. López Morín offers fresh insight into the life and work of this influential scholar, as well as the close relationship between his experience and his thought. Morín shows how Mexican literary traditions—particularly the performance contexts of oral “literature”—shaped Paredes’s understanding of his people and his critique of Anglo scholars’ portrayal of Mexican American history, character, and cultural expressions. Although he surveys all of Paredes’s work, Morín focuses most heavily on his masterpiece, With a Pistol in His Hand. It is in this book that Morín sees Paredes’s innovative interdisciplinary approach most effectively expressed. Dealing as he did with a people at the intersection of cultures, Paredes considered the intersection of disciplines a necessary locus for clear understanding. Morín traces the evolution of Paredes’s thought and his battles to create a legitimate home for his approach at the University of Texas. A voice for Chicano consciousness in the late 1960s and thereafter, Paredes championed Mexican American studies and encouraged a generation of scholars to consider this culture a legitimate topic for research. Urging the application of context to the understanding of oral texts, he challenged then-current methods of folklore and anthropological study in general. Paredes’s name will continue to resonate in Mexican American studies, American folklore, and Anthropology, and his work will continue to be studied. Américo Paredes: Folklorist of the Border makes a strong case for the lasting importance of Paredes’s work, especially for a new generation of scholars.

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They All Want Magic

Curanderas and Folk Healing

By Elizabeth De La Portilla

Curanderas—traditional healers in Mexican culture—bridge the gaps between multiple planes of existence—spiritual and material, modern and pre-modern—dispensing medicinal herbs, prayers, and instruction. Elizabeth de la Portilla writes of the world and practices of San Antonio curanderas. As a scholar, an ethnographer, and a curandera in training, her parallel perspectives uniquely aid readers in understanding this subordinated culture. Retelling the stories various healers have shared, interpreting their answers to her probing questions, and describing the herbs and recipes they use in their arts, the author vividly illuminates the borderland context of San Antonio. Scholars and readers of anthropology, sociology, Chicana and Chicano studies, and women's studies will savor the many layers of meaning and application in They All Want Magic.

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Voices in the Kitchen

Views of Food and the World from Working-Class Mexican and Mexican American Women

By Meredith E. Abarca

“Literally, chilaquiles are a breakfast I grew up eating: fried corn tortillas with tomato-chile sauce. Symbolically, they are the culinary metaphor for how working-class women speak with the seasoning of their food.”—from the Introduction Through the ages and across cultures, women have carved out a domain in which their cooking allowed them to express themselves, strengthen family relationships, and create a world of shared meanings with other women. In Voices in the Kitchen, Meredith E. Abarca features the voices of her mother and several other family members and friends, seated at their kitchen tables, to share the grassroots world view of these working-class Mexican and Mexican American women. In the kitchen, Abarca demonstrates, women assert their own sazón (seasoning), not only in their cooking but also in their lives. Through a series of oral histories, or charlas culinarias (culinary chats), the women interviewed address issues of space, sensual knowledge, artistic and narrative expression, and cultural and social change. From her mother’s breakfast chilaquiles to the most elaborate traditional dinner, these women share their lives as they share their savory, symbolic, and theoretical meanings of food. The charlas culinarias represent spoken personal narratives, testimonial autobiography, and a form of culinary memoir, one created by the cooks-as-writers who speak from their kitchen space. Abarca then looks at writers-as-cooks to add an additional dimension to the understanding of women’s power to define themselves. Voices in the Kitchen joins the extensive culinary research of the last decade in exploring the importance of the knowledge found in the practical, concrete, and temporal aspects of the ordinary practice of everyday cooking.

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Wealth of Selves

Multiple Identities, Mestiza Consciousness, and the Subject of Politics

By Edwina Barvosa

Many of us have multiple identities, says Edwina Barvosa. We may view ourselves according to ethnicity, marital or family roles, political affiliation, sexuality, or any of several other “identities” we may use to organize our behavior and self-understanding at any given time. Various domains have offered nuggets of insight regarding the characteristics and political implications of seeing the self as made up of multiple identities, but many questions remain. In Wealth of Selves, Edwina Barvosa constructs an ambitious interdisciplinary blend of these insights and crafts them into an overarching theoretical framework for understanding multiple identities in terms of intersectionality, identity contradiction, and the political potential that lies within the practices of self-integration. Grounded in Gloria Anzaldúa’s concept of mestiza consciousness as well as in Western political thought, this reconsideration of the self promises to reshape our thinking on issues such as immigrant incorporation, national identity, political participation, the socially constructed sources of will and political critique, and the longevity of racial and gender conflicts. With its accessible style and rich cross-pollination among disciplines, Wealth of Selves will reward readers in political science, philosophy, race, ethnic, and American studies, as well as in borderlands, sexuality, and gender studies.

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