This essay brings the Chicano canon back into focus and explores the elements that contribute to current developments in latinidad from the inception of the cannon to its current state by reformulating the understanding of it at the border and also through the recent lens of the Trump administration. By contending that the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 elections changed the political landscape of the U. S. and created a double-space of Hispanic presence at the border and beyond, this chapter explores how these politics seep into the literature of a community who were made protagonists of Trump’s policies. Thus, this chapter not only situates the Hispanic presence in the new social context of the United States by revisiting three canonical authors (Rivera, Barrios and Morales) in light of the new sociological, political, and cultural moment, but it also explores the cultural and theoretical conceptions that are birthed at the border in order to permit a deeper understanding of postmodernity and interculturalism and create new realities, spaces, intersections, and perspectives of self-representation, self-identification, and pluralism.
This chapter explores how two young Afro-Dominican writers, Raquel Cepeda and Jasminne Méndez, articulate their memoirs around diverse and changing experiences and stories that help (re)construct the Latino imaginary. By evoking memories from the past, these writers provide glimpses of the traumatic experiences suffered by Dominican-Americans in the U.S. and try to overcome racialized constructions of identity while delineating new spaces for enacting their polyhedral identities. The authors analyzed in this essay demonstrate that by proposing more sophisticated ways of expressing their Latino/a identity, they can move towards a more open notion of latinidad that enables them both display multifaceted selves and reconstruct/renegotiate their fractured modes of belonging across a variety of contexts. By delving into issues of race, gender, and memory, this chapter sets the stage for the particular notions and formation of pan-ethnicities discussed in this volume and brings to the fore the notion of intersectional latinidad.
This chapter examines the political progress and incorporation of Dominicans into the political circles of New York City since 1991, the year marking the election of the first Dominican to the New York City Council, and addresses the concept of latinidad in the context of Dominican Identity and electoral politics. It also investigates the impact of demographic reshuffling, transnationalism, individual leadership, communal and civic organization, and institutional support or rejection, including the impact of what is left of the so-called “political machines” in New York City. Using the Dominican situation as a case study, the analysis takes place within the larger Latino/a political context, revealing that a blurred boundary between pan-ethnic identity and group identity exists, with communities and individual actors changing hats between the perceived Latino agenda and their own specific community agenda.
This essay discusses two novels written by Cuban American author Elías Miguel Muñoz, who arrived in the United States in May 1969, between the two watershed migrations of Cubans: post-1959 exiles and 1980 Mariel refugees. The author’s multiple migrations—from Cuba to Spain, from Spain to the United States, and within the United States—inform his fiction and reflect the reality of latinidades. Moreover, he tells a different story about life in Cuba offering readers new understandings of cubanidad while he foregrounds important issues concerning sexuality and gender construction among queer Latinas/os. This essay asserts two arguments about the Latinx Canon by, first, stating that Muñoz’s work should be positioned as an early, material “queering” of cubanidad in terms of its complication of the exile narrative and its deconstruction of Cuban heteronormativity and, second, claiming that his work ultimately performs a “queering” of Latinx literature in reversal of tropes of ethnic belonging common in the Latinx Canon.
The aim of this chapter is to address how discourses of latinidad are produced and performed by means of aesthetic and cultural practices that Latinx artists engage in as tactics of self-definition and self-representation. Latina and Afro-Latina poets-performers such as Mayda del Valle, Elizabeth Acevedo, Ariana Brown or Amalia Ortiz, among others, deal with the intersections of the politics of identity and what sociologist Aníbal Quijano (1989) theorized as “the coloniality of power.” Although Afro-Latina poets spoken word artists focus on the workings of xenophobia, racism, gendering and othering in their poems, they implicitly suggest the need for alternative processes of interaction and conviviality, of a decolonial mindset leading to a non-EuroAmerican-centered pluriversality. Furthermore, this chapter explores how in formulating oppositional interpretations, in complicating and decolonizing ways of thinking about race, identity, difference, and power, their works become sites of contestation and social resistance that critically question dominant hegemonic views and talk back against colonization, acculturation, exclusion and inequities.
As the transformations of the concept of latinidad have all been enacted in space, it is expedient to analyze how the spatial marker of the U.S.–Mexico border has been influencing the construction of Latinx identities and as such remapping latinidad(es). The importance of the U.S.–Mexico border for the creation of Latinx identities has been recognized by Latinx authors and artists who have also underscored a multivalent character of this space via its multiple and versatile literary and cultural representations. Consuelo Jiménez Underwood and Ana Teresa Fernández are among the artists whose works address various iterations of la frontera and its impact on the construction of Latinx identities. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze this interrelation and to examine its representations in the works of the two artists as well as to contribute to the debate of how women are searching for new definitions of their latinidad within the shadowy space of the border.
This chapter addresses the history of Chicano literature and directly speaks to the ways in which the movement inevitably is tied to the broader implications of latinidad and the literature that comprises it. Calling attention to the undeniable literary presence that Latino/a writers have claimed in the American canon, this essay makes connections to the ripple effect this has had on Latino/a culture in more general terms. Moreover, it portrays the ways in which Chicano literature has systematically been pushed forward by its myriad directions and modalities and how this has led to a wider array of views and concerns about the human experience. This chapter outlines critical assessments from the Chicano Renaissance—in its majority, male dominated—to the “Chicano Postmodern Generation,” spurred by a new wave of women writers who have changed the face and substance of Chicano and Latino literature forever.