University of Texas Press

Chicana Matters

Deena J. González and Antonia Castañeda series editors

Published by: University of Texas Press

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Chicana Matters

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Blood Lines

Myth, Indigenism, and Chicana/o Literature

By Sheila Marie Contreras

Blood Lines: Myth, Indigenism, and Chicana/o Literature examines a broad array of texts that have contributed to the formation of an indigenous strand of Chicano cultural politics. In particular, this book exposes the ethnographic and poetic discourses that shaped the aesthetics and stylistics of Chicano nationalism and Chicana feminism. Contreras offers original perspectives on writers ranging from Alurista and Gloria Anzaldúa to Lorna Dee Cervantes and Alma Luz Villanueva, effectively marking the invocation of a Chicano indigeneity whose foundations and formulations can be linked to U.S. and British modernist writing. By highlighting intertextualities such as those between Anzaldúa and D. H. Lawrence, Contreras critiques the resilience of primitivism in the Mexican borderlands. She questions established cultural perspectives on “the native,” which paradoxically challenge and reaffirm racialized representations of Indians in the Americas. In doing so, Blood Lines brings a new understanding to the contradictory and richly textured literary relationship that links the projects of European modernism and Anglo-American authors, on the one hand, and the imaginary of the post-revolutionary Mexican state and Chicano/a writers, on the other hand.

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The Chronicles of Panchita Villa and Other Guerrilleras

Essays on Chicana/Latina Literature and Criticism

By Tey Diana Rebolledo

Although there have been substantial contributions to Chicana literature and criticism over the past few decades, Chicanas are still underrepresented and underappreciated in the mainstream literary world and virtually nonexistent in the canon. Writers like Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, and Gloria Anzaldúa have managed to find larger audiences and critical respect, but there are legions of Chicana writers and artists who have been marginalized and ignored despite their talent. Even in Chicano anthologies, the focus has tended to be more on male writers. Chicanas have often found themselves without a real home in the academic world. Tey Diana Rebolledo has been writing about Chicana/Latina identity, literature, discrimination, and feminism for more than two decades. In this collection of essays, she brings together both old and new works to give a state-of-the-moment look at the still largely unanswered questions raised by vigilant women of color throughout the last half of the twentieth century. An intimate introductory essay about Rebolledo's personal experiences as the daughter of a Mexican mother and a Peruvian father serves to lay the groundwork for the rest of the volume. The essays delve into the historical development of Chicana writing and its early narratives, the representation of Chicanas as seen on book covers, Chicana feminism, being a Chicana critic in the academy, Chicana art history, and Chicana creativity. Rebolledo encourages “guerrillera” warfare against academia in order to open up the literary canon to Chicana/Latina writers who deserve validation.

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Fertile Matters

The Politics of Mexican-Origin Women's Reproduction

By Elena R. Gutiérrez

An exploration into how Mexican-origin women’s reproduction has been stereotyped and demonized in the United States.

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Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory

A Novel

By Emma Pérez

This literary adventure takes place in nineteenth-century Texas and follows the story of a Tejana lesbian cowgirl after the fall of the Alamo. Micaela Campos, the central character, witnesses the violence against Mexicans, African Americans, and indigenous peoples after the infamous battles of the Alamo and of San Jacinto, both in 1836. Resisting an easy opposition between good versus evil and brown versus white characters, the novel also features Micaela’s Mexican-Anglo cousin who assists and hinders her progress. Micaela’s travels give us a new portrayal of the American West, populated by people of mixed races who are vexed by the collision of cultures and politics. Ultimately, Micaela’s journey and her romance with a black/American Indian woman teach her that there are no easy solutions to the injustices that birthed the Texas Republic. This novel is an intervention in queer history and fiction with its love story between two women of color in mid-nineteenth-century Texas. Pérez also shows how a colonial past still haunts our nation’s imagination. The battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto offered freedom and liberty to Texans, but what is often erased from the story is that common people who were Mexican, Indian, and Black did not necessarily benefit from the influx of so many Anglo immigrants to Texas. The social themes and identity issues that Pérez explores—political climate, debates over immigration, and historical revision of the American West—are current today.

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Golondrina, why did you leave me?

A Novel

By Bárbara Renaud González

A powerful story of losses, triumphs, and the strong ties that bind a working-class Tejano family in the Texas panhandle.

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Lourdes Portillo

The Devil Never Sleeps and Other Films

Edited by Rosa Linda Fregoso

Filmmaker Lourdes Portillo sees her mission as "channeling the hopes and dreams of a people." Clearly, political commitment has inspired her choice of subjects. With themes ranging from state repression to AIDS, Portillo’s films include: Después del Terremoto, the Oscar-nominated Las Madres: The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, La Ofrenda: The Days of the Dead, The Devil Never Sleeps, and Corpus: A Home Movie for Selena. The first study of Portillo and her films, this collection is collaborative and multifaceted in approach, emphasizing aspects of authorial creativity, audience reception, and production processes typically hidden from view. Rosa Linda Fregoso, the volume editor, has organized the book into three parts: interviews (by Fregoso and Kathleen Newman and B. Ruby Rich); critical perspectives (essays by Fregoso, Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, Sylvie Thouard, Norma Iglesias, and Barbara McBane); and production materials (screenplays, script notes, storyboards, etc.). This innovative collection provides "inside" information on the challenges of making independent films. By describing the production constraints Portillo has surmounted, Fregoso deepens our appreciation of this gifted filmmaker’s life, her struggles, and the evolution of her art.

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Making a Killing

Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera

Edited by Alicia Gaspar de Alba, with Georgina Guzmán

Bringing together diverse perspectives, including feminism, Marxism, critical race theory, semiotics, and textual analysis, this is the first anthology to focus exclusively on the murders of more than five hundred women and girls in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

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Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration

Engendering Transnational Ties

By Luz María Gordillo

Weaving narratives with gendered analysis and historiography of Mexicans in the Midwest, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration examines the unique transnational community created between San Ignacio Cerro Gordo, Jalisco, and Detroit, Michigan, in the last three decades of the twentieth century, asserting that both the community of origin and the receiving community are integral to an immigrant’s everyday life, though the manifestations of this are rife with contradictions. Exploring the challenges faced by this population since the inception of the Bracero Program in 1942 in constantly re-creating, adapting, accommodating, shaping, and creating new meanings of their environments, Luz María Gordillo emphasizes the gender-specific aspects of these situations. While other studies of Mexican transnational identity focus on social institutions, Gordillo’s work introduces the concept of transnational sexualities, particularly the social construction of working-class sexuality. Her findings indicate that many female San Ignacians shattered stereotypes, transgressing traditionally male roles while their husbands lived abroad. When the women themselves immigrated as well, these transgressions facilitated their adaptation in Detroit. Placed within the larger context of globalization, Mexican Women and the Other Side of Immigration is a timely excavation of oral histories, archival documents, and the remnants of three decades of memory.

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Our Lady of Controversy

Alma López's “Irreverent Apparition”

Edited by Alicia Gaspar de Alba and Alma López

Months before Alma López’s digital collage Our Lady was shown at the Museum of International Folk Art in 2001, the museum began receiving angry phone calls from community activists and Catholic leaders who demanded that the image not be displayed. Protest rallies, prayer vigils, and death threats ensued, but the provocative image of la Virgen de Guadalupe (hands on hips, clad only in roses, and exalted by a bare-breasted butterfly angel) remained on exhibition. Highlighting many of the pivotal questions that have haunted the art world since the NEA debacle of 1988, the contributors to Our Lady of Controversy present diverse perspectives, ranging from definitions of art to the artist’s intention, feminism, queer theory, colonialism, and Chicano nationalism. Contributors include the exhibition curator, Tey Marianna Nunn; award-winning novelist and Chicana historian Emma Pérez; and Deena González (recognized as one of the fifty most important living women historians in America). Accompanied by a bonus DVD of Alma López’s I Love Lupe video that looks at the Chicana artistic tradition of reimagining la Virgen de Guadalupe, featuring a historic conversation between Yolanda López, Ester Hernández, and Alma López, Our Lady of Controversy promises to ignite important new dialogues.

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Performing Mexicanidad

Vendidas y Cabareteras on the Transnational Stage

By Laura G. Gutiérrez

An examination of the intersection of public discourses on sexualities with recent political, economic, and social shifts in the national context of Mexico and the Mexican diaspora in the United States.

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