Battlegrounds and Crossroads

Social and Imaginary Space in Writings by Chicanas


Of interest to informed readers responsive to combined textual and cultural approaches to Chicano/a literature and literature in general, Battleground and Crossroads weaves in various critical and theoretical threads to inquire into the relationship between intimate and public spaces in Chicana literature. Without claiming the borderlands as exclusive of the Chicana/o imagination, this book acknowledges the importance of this metaphor for bringing to view a more intercultural United States, allowing it to become inflected with the particularity of each text. The analyses of Chicana fiction, drama, and autobiography explore the construction of identity through the representation of social space and the transformation of literary space. For discussion of a diacritical territory this volume draws on a interdisciplinary practice that facilitates the journey from the most intimate spaces to the most public spaces of modernity, so that the aesthetic text yields its knowledge of the contingent historical circumstances of its production in material and existential terms. The apparent regionalism and localism of this literature is nothing but a reflection of the relationship between the local and the global, the private and the public, the personal and the political, the aesthetic and the ideological, the subversive and the mainstream. Each text stands by itself while it also reaches out to the sociopolitical imaginary for interpretation through an interdisciplinary methodology that is indispensable to do justice to a politicized aesthetics.

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Maria Antònia Oliver-Rotger teaches English language and literature at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain. Her articles on Chicano/a and Latino/a culture have appeared in anthologies and journals in Europe and the U.S. She is currently working on the representation of the geographical U.S.-Mexico border in Chicano/a writings.
Battlegrounds and Crossroads is winner of the 2005 Javier Coy Award of the Spanish Association of American Studies.
List of Illustrations
Beyond the Critical Pale
The Borderlands as Critical Paradigm

Part I: Radical Postmodern Practices
1. New Spaces, Identities, and Struggles
1.1. Identity and Ethnicity Revisited 1.2. The Postmodern Look at Space
1.3. Women, Place, and Space in Literature and Feminist Theory
2. Chicano/a Cultural and Critical Politics
2.1. The Racialization of Hispanics and Mexicans
2.2. Aztlán as Chicano Counter-National Space
2.3. Malinchismo: The Feminist Challenge to Chicano Nationalism
2.4. From Chicano to Border Matters

Part II: Battlegrounds
3. Borderlands Domesticities
3.1. An Imaginary Escape from Domesticity: Isabella Ríos’ Victuum
3.2. Domestic Prisons and Domesticated Bodies: Helena Viramontes and Sandra Cisneros
4. Dangerous Crossings
4.1. Helena Viramontes and the “Ragged Edges” of Urban Postmodernity
4.2. “Mericans” and “Mechicanas”: Sandra Cisneros with Ana Castillo
4.3. The Border as Dystopia: Cherríe Moraga's The Hungry Woman

Part III: Crossroads
5. Homeplaces and Spaces of Their Own
5.1. “Summoning Home All Those Who Stray:” Sandra Cisneros and Helena Viramontes
5.2. Pat Mora's House of Houses and the Dream of a Homeplace with No Boundaries
6. Modest Utopias: Cherríe Moraga's “Queer” Revisiting of Aztlán
6.1. Heroes and Saints
6.2. Watsonville

Works Cited and Consulted
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