Edited by Reine Dugas Bouton
Ethnic Cultures on New York’s Lower East Side
Gendered Space and Mobility in American Women’s Road Narratives, 1970-2000
The analytical concept of transdifference is introduced to theorize the dissonant plurality of social and cultural affiliations as well as the narrative tensions produced by such pluralities in order to better understand the textual worlds of women’s multiple belongings as they are present in these writings. Roads of Her Own is thus not only situated in the broader context of a constructivist cultural studies, but also, by discussing narrative mobility under the sign of gender, combines insights from social theory and philosophy, feminist cultural geography, and literary studies.
Key names and concepts: Doreen Massey – Rosi Braidotti – Literary Studies – Spatial Turn – Gendered Space and Mobility – Nomadism – Road writing – Transdifference – American Culture – Popular Culture – Women’s Literature after the Second Wave – Quest – Picara.
The Politics of Space and Imagery
Michiel Baud and Annelou Ypeij
Contributors: Michiel Baud, Annelou Ypeij, Lisa Breglia, Quetzil E. Castañeda, Ben Feinberg, Carla Guerrón Montero, Walter E. Little, Keely B. Maxwell, Lynn A. Meisch, Zoila S. Mendoza, Alan Middleton, Beatrice Simon, Griet Steel, Gabriela Vargas-Cetina.
“Tourism in Latin America – especially the sort of cultural tourism that plays to desires for authentic experiences – has become a key foreigner currency earner for many countries. This important volume examines the impact of tourism across the region, providing a rich survey of the range of experiences and teasing out the theoretical implications. From the almost surreal Mi Pueblito theme park in Panama to mushroom-hunting tourists in Oaxaca to the eco-trail leading to Machu Pichu, these chapters present compelling cases that speak to identity formation, nationalism, and economic impacts. As the contributors show, benefits are differentially accrued to various actors – and often not to the communities that tourists come to see. Yet, the contributors also make it clear that in struggles over ownership, authenticity, and political representation, local communities actively shape the contours and meanings of tourism, at times successfully leveraging cultural capital into economic gains.”
Edward F. Fischer,
Director Center for Latin American Studies, Vanderbilt University
Paula Torreiro Pazo
This essay deals with the multilayered trope of food in two autobiographical works published in 2005, Diana Abu-Jaber’s The Language of Baklava and Leslie Li’s Daughter of Heaven. Both works are considered “food memoirs” and, as the very term indicates, culinary rituals, commensality, recipes, and other food-related matters constitute the backbone of the narration. Abu-Jaber and Li use food as a vehicle for the exploration of memories of past events, as well as for the analysis of issues such as ethnicity, racism, identity and community. The fact that both works feature first and second generation members of ethnic groups in the United States—Arab Americans in the case of Abu-Jaber, and Chinese Americans in the case of Li— invites the “trans-ethnic” study of the two memoirs, which, surprisingly enough, present many stylistic and thematic similarities.
Rachel Ihara and Jaime Cleland
This chapter argues that comparative analyses of autobiographical works by ethnic writers typically fail to consider the extent to which minority autobiographies emphasize issues of authorship and artistry. Examination of the autobiographical writing of two early-twentieth-century writers—the Native American writer ZitkalaŠa and the Chinese American writer Sui Sin Far—suggests that both writers sought to present themselves in their autobiographical texts as legitimate American authors, and not only as complex ethnic subjects. Although their autobiographic essays do not conform to typical narratives of the acquisition of literacy, both writers emphasize early experiences of storytelling and childhood encounters with art in order to construct unique yet fully intelligible identities as ethnic American authors. Their shared preoccupation with issues of artistry thus points to a promising area for further investigation into inter-ethnic American life writing.
José Liste Noya
The doublings of memory and writing are shared themes and motifs in the autobiographical writings of two New Yorkers, Samuel R. Delany and Paul Auster, two writers whose writings are otherwise very distinct in style, reach and critical reception. The marginalized writer of consciously marginal “paraliterature,” as Delany calls his science-fiction and other genre experiments, contrasts with the increasingly acclaimed critical and popular favourite, Paul Auster. These distinctions, however, are precisely what allow their shared concerns in their memoirs to stand out, revealing two highly self-conscious writers who employ the autobiographical in ways that question the very discursive and genre conventions that enable the generic stereotyping their writings contest, implicitly or explicitly. In a context we could label as postmodern, their autobiographical writings constitute discursive doublings that explore the formal and thematic constraints of this particular textual mode, one that resists determinate generic classification. They both exploit the the dual temporal and thematic articulation that autobiography relies on—the oscillation between past and present, life and writing—in order to respect more fully the very notion of the autobiographical as experience in writing and writing as experience. The writing of memory and the memory which is writing here double each other in ways that are not always symmetrical and that foreground the skewed relationship that exists between the two. Seeking to authorize their own writing, to father their own discourse, they both resolve that impossibility, in a mode that can never catch up to its presumed objective, the coincidence of life and writing, by recognizing the role of the reader as metaphorically, the ‘son’ who fathers the ‘father’. The experience of autobiography ultimately exists for the reader, an experience of reading that calls upon its own memory, thus doubling in turn the double narrative which is autobiography itself.
The Third Stage
Victor Figueroa Sepulveda
Left-Indigenous Struggles in Modern Bolivia
Jeffery R. Webber
Supplemented with the interviewees’ private documents and working from U.S. and Italian archives, Christa Wirth documents a century of transatlantic migration, assimilation, and later-generation self-identification. Her research reveals how memories of migration, everyday life, and ethnicity are passed down through the generations, altered, and contested while constituting family identities.
The fact that not all descendants of Italian migrants moved into the U.S. middle class, combined with their continued use of hyphenated identities, points to a history of lived ethnicity and societal exclusion. Moreover, this book demonstrates the extent of forgetting that is required in order to construct an ethnic identity.