Pan-Hispanic/Luso-Brazilian Literary and Cultural Studies
In this anthology, editors Estrella Cibreiro and Francisca López gather a collective report of the engagement of Hispanic women writers in global affairs. Global Issues in Contemporary Hispanic Women’s Writing: Shaping Gender, the Environment, and Politics reveals and depicts the deathly effects of neoliberalism, unbridled capitalism, and dominant social structures on the poor, women, and children. Writing is an instrument to denounce an economics of profit at any human, environmental, or moral cost. The authors included in the anthology carefully choose, chisel, or manufacture writing with a common purpose. Their objective is to confront readers with societal wrongs and to provide a relational course of action to address them. The editors call this a politics of possibility, or, colloquially speaking, “instead of going with the flow of contaminated waters, dive in and help clean up.”
Cibreiro and López divide their volume into four parts that critique the chains keeping political minorities out of view, quiet, and resigned to their conditions. The first set, titled “Reshaping Gender by Rethinking Genre,” includes essays on Alicia Giménez Bartlett (Albacete, 1951), Dulce Chacón (Badajoz, 1954–Madrid, 2003), and Lucía Puenzo (Buenos Aires, 1976). The second part studies the writings of Juana Castro (Córdoba, 1945), Marcela Serrano (Santiago de Chile, 1951), and Laura Restrepo (Bogotá, 1950). Their texts cry out for an end to violence against women and children. Women’s protective relationship with the environment is highlighted in the works of Alicia Puleo (Buenos Aires, 1952), Marie Arana (Lima, 1949), and Natalia Toledo Paz (Oaxaca, 1967). The collection closes with a call to view global problems through a gendered lens as presented in the plays of Itziar Pascual (Madrid, 1967), novels by Marvel Moreno (Barranquilla, 1939–Paris, 1995), the short stories of Nieves García Benito (Vitoria-Gasteiz, 1951), and Belén Gopegui’s (Madrid, 1963) writings. This last segment showcases immigrant narratives and the need to acquire a systemic view as a departure point for analyzing the particular. The chain of essays thus ends with what could have been the opening of the collection: global issues are systemic and must be approached as such. [End Page 154]
The effects of migration permeate all texts, although only García-Benito’s eleven short stories take immigrants as their subjects of representation. For example, Peruvian-born Marie Arana came to the United States at the age of nine. Argentinian-born Alicia Puleo studied and now lives and works in Spain. Basque-born Nieves García Benito lives and works in Tarifa. Being a migrant, then, may arise as the de-facto designation for the vast majority of the world population. The relational course of action to address poverty, violence, and equality may birth naturally as the migrant identity embodies more than one culture, language, or dialect.
Global issues and contemporary Hispanic writers are the common bond among essays. Nonetheless, the predominance of seven texts originating in Spain over six from the Americas is noticeable. This imbalance, however, should not be interpreted as a paucity of Latin American female writers who advocate for the disenfranchised, but rather, as a call to locate and examine the larger body of work by Hispanic women. Regarding the contemporariness of the authors and texts, a forty-year span covers the writers in the study. The oldest author is Marvel Moreno (1939–95) whereas Lucía Puenzo (1976) represents the youngest. The works analyzed are also recent publications; ten have been written in the twenty first century while three date from the previous decade.
Above all, the writers showcased share an ethics of compassion and care. They attest to the plight of the disempowered through disparate and nonexclusive approaches, such as police procedural, melodramatic, picaresque, systemic, ecological, immigrant, and bilingual modes of discourse. By staging the raw reality of women’s lives in a polluted, putrid, dystopian space, the...