University of Minnesota Press

Cultural Studies of the Americas

Published by: University of Minnesota Press

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Cultural Studies of the Americas

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Masking And Power

Carnival And Popular Culture In The Caribbean

Gerard Aching

Does the mask reveal more than it conceals? What, this book asks, becomes visible and invisible in the masking practiced in Caribbean cultures-not only in the familiar milieu of the carnival but in political language, social conduct, and cultural expressions that mimic, misrepresent, and mislead? Focusing on masking as a socially significant practice in Caribbean cultures, Gerard Aching’s analysis articulates masking, mimicry, and misrecognition as a means of describing and interrogating strategies of visibility and invisibility in Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, and beyond. Masking and Power uses ethnographic fieldwork, psychoanalysis, and close literary readings to examine encounters between cultural insiders as these locals mask themselves and one another either to counter the social invisibility imposed on them or to maintain their socioeconomic privileges. Aching exposes the ways in which strategies of masking and mimicry, once employed to negotiate subjectivities within colonial regimes, have been appropriated for state purposes and have become, with the arrival of self-government in the islands, the means by which certain privileged locals make a show of national and cultural unity even as they engage in the privatization of popular culture and its public performances.

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Queer Ricans

Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes

Exploring cultural expressions of Puerto Rican queer migration from the Caribbean to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco, Lawrence La Fountain–Stokes analyzes how artists have portrayed their lives and the discrimination they have faced in both Puerto Rico and the United States. Highlighting cultural and political resistance within Puerto Rico’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender subcultures, La Fountain–Stokes pays close attention to differences of gender, historical moment, and generation, arguing that Puerto Rican queer identity changes over time and is experienced in very different ways. He traces an arc from 1960s Puerto Rico and the writings of Luis Rafael Sánchez to New York City in the 1970s and 1980s (Manuel Ramos Otero), Philadelphia and New Jersey in the 1980s and 1990s (Luz María Umpierre and Frances Negrón-Muntaner), and Chicago (Rose Troche) and San Francisco (Erika López) in the 1990s, culminating with a discussion of Arthur Avilés and Elizabeth Marrero’s recent dance–theater work in the Bronx. Proposing a radical new conceptualization of Puerto Rican migration, this work reveals how sexuality has shaped and defined the Puerto Rican experience in the United States.

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Rain Forest Literatures

Amazonian Texts And Latin American Culture

Lucia Sa

Native texts of the Amazonian rain forest have been viewed as myth or ethnographic matter—the raw material of literature—rather than as significant works in their own right. But in this unprecedented study, Lúcia Sá approaches indigenous texts as creative works rather than source material. Disclosing the existence and nature of long-standing, rich, and complex Native American literary and intellectual traditions that have typically been neglected or demeaned by literary criticism, Rain Forest Literatures analyzes four indigenous cultural traditions: the Carib, Tupi-Guarani, Upper Rio Negro, and Western Arawak. In each case, Sá considers principal native texts and, where relevant, their publication history. She offers a historical overview of the impact of these texts on mainstream Spanish-American and Brazilian literatures, detailing comparisons with native sources and making close analyses of major instances, such as Mário de Andrade’s classic Macunaima (1928) and Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Storyteller (1986). A redrawing of the lineage of Brazilian and Spanish-American literatures, this book advocates an understanding of the relationships between cultures as a process of “transculturation” rather than “acculturation,” emphasizing the often-ignored impact of the peripheral culture on the one that assumes dominance.

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