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PRESENTATIO N OF THE D is tin g u is h e d A c h ie v e m e n t A w a r d 2003 t o R am ón a n d J o s é D a v id S a ld iv a r a n d S o n ia S a l d í v a r - H u l l K r i s t a C o m e r Little work has been as important to recent thinking about the “bor­ ders” of western literary as that of Chicano/a studies, and few critics have been as influential in establishing the parameters of that field as have been the Saldivar siblings. From them, and from the field more broadly conceived, western literary studies has learned a great deal. If, in some fundamental way, many ofthe most prominent ofChicano and Chicana writers and critics, beginning at least with Paredes, have been “regionalists,” they have been so in terms which reveal very dif­ ferent spatial imaginations and cultural geographies than those typically governing especially (but not only) South Texas and California. Those differences have had every consequence. For example, while western studies has recognized the signifi­ cance of figures like Américo Paredes to the history and culture of the American West and Texas— in fact, Paredes received this very award in 1985— it has taken someone with Ramon’s institutional stature and poststructural credentials, not to mention the existence of Chicano/a studies as a field, to make the case Paredes himself tried to make, and to less effect: that the social groups incorporated into the nation proper after the Mexican American War carry upon their historical backs the memories of their Mexican pasts, and this fact continually re-creates the presence of “Greater Mexico” within U.S. borders today. O f particular importance is the light it sheds on the Greater Mexican structures of feeling that animate so many features of daily life in western spaces, whether or not one is mexicano. With different spatial orientations have come different genealogical traditions from which to conceptualize “regions,” expanding the critical resources at our analytic disposal. O f all the Saldivars, José David has most explicitly situated his work, especially that of Border Matters (1997), in dialogue with mythol­ ogies of the American West. His focus upon the cultural borderlands which both divide and unite the United States and Mexico identifies W e s t e r n A m e r i c a n L i t e r a t u r e 4 0 .3 ( F a l l 2 0 0 5 ): 3 4 2 - 4 3 . S a l d i v a r P l e n a r y not only a dynamic and transnational ethnoregional formation, but it artfully addresses the border as a barometer of U.S. foreign policy. Since 9/11, the worries José David raised in Border Matters about unconstitionalities levied against people deemed “alien” have unfortunately proven truer than any of us would have wished or foreseen. Borderlands military operations have in some ways offered a case study in organiz­ ing the so-called war against terrorism, and again, the border reveals itself to be buried in the center of power struggles. By preserving in his work the internationalism of early Chicano/a studies and applying that perspective to contemporary political “hot spots” like the U.S./Mexican border, José David offers any of us doing regional studies today one of the more extended examples in cultural studies of how to theorize the interface between local and global while incorporating matters of politi­ cal economy and state-sponsored violence. As Sonia makes so clear in Feminism on the Border (2000), gender issues and power hierarchies always bear intimately on individual life stories as well as literary and scholarly production. Like Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga, Sonia’s interests are nothing less than formulating a global theory of power for women. As is true for most Chicana theo­ rists, the trope of “borders” figures largely here; but in Sonia’s hands, it is more insistently a political trope...


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pp. 342-343
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