For outsiders, the languages of Latino literature are English, Spanish, and code-switching between the two languages. What is more, code-switching is considered a symptom of not knowing either language well. At the same time, Latinos themselves feel anxiety toward perceived deficiencies in both languages. This essay argues that Latino literature offers a complex use of language that can be appreciated through the lens of translation. This essay explores the forms of translation present in Latino literature suggesting that Spanish and English always exist in the presence and under the influence of each other. Discussions of Felipe Alfau, Junot Díaz, and Urayoán Noel highlight the centrality of translation issues in Latino writing ranging from creative output and expression to the making of subsequent versions of literary texts. Overall, considerations of translation in Latino studies can lead to a more complex understanding of the work of translators and multilingual writing in general.
Sarah M. Quesada
This chapter draws from Tomás Rivera’s poetry and Rudolfo Anaya’s short story “The Man Who Could Fly” (2006) to read continuities of an Atlantic world formation within the Southwest. Specifically, this essay compares paradigms of a remembered “Congo” informed by dialectics of empire concerning both Central African exploration—in the case of Rivera—and plantational Latin American and American slavery—in the case of Anaya. While this article argues that in the case of Rivera, Henry Stanley’s exploration haunts the spatialization of Rivera’s poetry, in Anaya, by contrast, Atlantic continuities are chiefly embedded in a transnational comparison with Latin American Caribbean writers such as Gabriel García Márquez and Alejo Carpentier. Applying Caribbean thinker Edouard Glissant’s theorization of “Relation” to these Chicano narratives, this chapter decodes the racial geographies of the Southwest to theorize how landscape and fiction work together to memorialize subaltern Atlantic memory.
This article mentions the complicated relationship between elegy and the longing for aesthetic redemption; however, such longing is rarely distant from anger and rage, and therefore never far from the effort to make of the AIDS elegy a social genre that could offer the prospect of interaction ‘with the oblivious or indifferent’. The elegy adopts the testimonial precisely because it refuses to turn its back on the ‘urgent concern with the responsibilities of the living’. It then notes the poems by a few of the very well-known gay male poets as evidence of the way in which elegy was being adapted in this writing to the purpose of AIDS witness, somewhat in the manner of a coming out. The intertextual relation of the poems by Ingrid de Kok and Thomas Gunn signifies that here/there and now/then differences are not as self-evident as they may seem.
“Beyond the Lines of Poetry”: Ethnic Traditions and Imaginative Interventions in Irish-American Poetics
This article aims to provide a brief recent history of Irish-American literary studies, then focuses on how Irish-American poetics might be employed as an evaluative critical lens through which to regard Irish, American, and transnational exchange. It discusses whether Irish-American poetics can be used as a critical framework for reading poetry that might not traditionally be labeled “Irish-American,” at least in terms of more obvious ethnic claims or cultural affiliations. This in turn might allow asking larger questions about how, when, and why transnational cultural encounters are assessed and described, and what this might reveal about the ways in which critics, readers, and writers respond to imaginative resources.
This essay focuses on the complex relationship between Cuban studies and Latina/Latino studies. A full engagement between the two scholarly endeavors is often difficult because of the ongoing efforts at reconciliation among the Cuban people. While more fluidity now exists, there are continuing divisions between Cubans of the island and the diaspora. So long as Cuba continues to be a site of obsessive fascination both to Cuban Americans and to non-Cuban promoters of Cuban identity and culture in the United States, it is challenging for scholars in Cuban studies to address connections with the intersectional approaches at the heart of Latina/Latino studies. Drawing on a personal approach and the author’s own experiences as a scholar, writer, and activist for cultural exchanges with Cuba, this entry explores the generational changes that have taken place in the search for bridges to and from Cuba and how this search for identity and belonging contributes idiosyncratic but important nuances to the field of Latina/Latino studies.
Mario T. García
The Chicano movement was the largest and most widespread civil rights and empowerment movement by people of Mexican descent in the United States. As part of the 1960s and 1970s social movements, the movement made Chicanos and other Latinos national political actors and laid the foundation for contemporary Latino political power in the 21st century. It assured that the old America would no longer survive. Chicanos and other minorities were the future and still are the future.
R. Clifton Spargo
This article describes the measure of the elegy's self-subversions through history, but finds that in its contemporary form it has reached an apex of resistance that plays out in the realm of ethics. Focusing on Elizabeth Bishop, Ann Sexton, and Jorie Graham, the article reveals that contemporary elegy is intensely self-conscious; this self-consciousness plays out not only in the terms of the self-reflexive engagement, but in its acuteness with respect to its own temporality, and to the ethical considerations that are thereby inextricably tied to it. Bishop's poetry explores the provisional negotiations of memory in an effort to establish a continuous self that, despite the best efforts, is far less stable than its everyday capability might lead to suppose. Graham's poetry has been celebrated for its modernist or postmodernist difficulties. The surest sign of anti-elegy resides in its refusal to find restitution in the function of commemoration in culture.
Maeera Y. Shreiber
This article considers the subject of survival, focusing on the continuation of Jewish rituals of mourning and memory in Jewish poetry. Poets such as Charles Reznikoff, Allen Ginsberg, and Adrienne Rich show how the kaddish is used in ways that complicate and thicken the understanding of the modern elegy. Of the three poems discussed, Reznikoff's ‘Kaddish’ is the most critical of this shift from the human to the divine; instead of directing the poem towards God. Ginsberg's ‘Kaddish’ significantly avoids the ancient Hebrew prayer altogether. In Rich's ‘Tattered Kaddish’, it is observed how the liturgical frame may be appropriated and refashioned in the service of reclaiming ritualized grieving in such a way that challenges the idea of poetic mourning as an individualized mode of expression. Rich insists that institutions, whether they be religious, political, or aesthetic, be able to accommodate pain and unmitigated loss.
This chapter argues that the subject of racism and race is crucial to Latino studies in that the historical conditions responsible for birthing gospels of phenotype and fundamentalisms of ancestry began in sites of Hispanic colonial domination in our hemisphere. Only later did racial literacies and pedagogies travel to other colonial domains within the hemisphere and across the globe. The chapter stresses the crisis of Christian piety that caused colonizing nations to produce discourses of disparagement meant to reduce or stigmatize the humanity of their subjects, the eminently historical nature of racial thought, and the role of cultivated intellects in defining, demeaning, and debasing conquered populations that differed from them in heritage, origin, and appearance. It posits that racist violence, including of the genocidal kind, is not an aberration but a vital factor of the civilization that European colonial ventures forged in the Americas. It offers an outline for a pan-hemispheric history of discourse from the Anglo and Iberian Americas to illustrate how feasibly one can claim that in the hemisphere one is racist by default. The exclusion of black, Indian, or Asian-descended people not only recurs as an ideal for the region’s foremost thinkers, political theorists, and founding fathers, but it also creeps into the pages of schoolbooks and the media in general. This scenario leaves it up to the maligned groups in the citizenry to devise ways of surviving the animosity hurled at them from various levels of public discourse in their own country. Nothing, then, would seem more urgent to fuel visions of humane solidarity and peaceful coexistence across difference of phenotype and ancestry in the Americas than to rehabilitate social relations by disabling the App of racial acrimony installed in the social fabric of our nations by the founding discourses that created our civilization.
Erualdo R. González
The nexus between Latina/o Studies and urban planning scholarship is thin but slowly growing. There remains opportunity to add critical perspectives to this emerging body of work.This article examines key conditions and trends in urban planning and the political economy context in Latina/o communities in American cities. It also reviews the intentions of the urban planning field and discusses key themes and progress within the Latino urbanism scholarly movement. The article then examines the political economy dimensions and profound implications of gentrification on the Latina/o population, especially in major US cities, and emerging gentefication racial and class debates. The article concludes with a forward-looking orientation by offering gentefication and gentrification research agendas.
Frederick Luis Aldama
Despite Latinxs being the largest growing demographic in the United States, their experiences and identities continue to be underrepresented and misrepresented in the mainstream pop cultural imaginary. However, for all the negative stereotypes and restrictive ways that the mainstream boxes in Latinxs, Latinx musicians, writers, artists, comic book creators, and performers actively metabolize all cultural phenomena to clear positive spaces of empowerment and to make new perception, thought, and feeling about Latinx identities and experiences. In film, one sees Latinx actors in mainstream and Latinx films, playing Latinx-identified characters. It’s important to understand, though, that Latinxs today consume all variety of cultural phenomena. For corporate America, therefore, the Latinx demographic represents a huge buying demographic. Viewed with cynical and skeptical eyes, the increased representation of Latinxs in the entertainment industry is a result of this push to capture the Latinx consumer market. Within this schema, Latinx actors are rarely cast as the protagonists. As such, there is an active metabolizing and critical redeployment of these narratives as well as the fashioning of entirely new cultural phenomena. Latinx filmmakers are working in the realist, motion-photographic mode to push back and clear new spaces for Latinx subjectivities and experiences; they are also innovating in the pop cultural space of music videos. Some Latinx creators use the Internet to convey the richly layered aspects of being Latinx. Meanwhile, relative low production costs in areas such as music and comic books have led to a tremendous outpouring of Latinx pop cultural creation in these areas.
This article reflects on the importance of language studies as an essential yet forgotten portal through which to appreciate politics, society, and culture. Written in an accessible tone in direct response to the insistently obtuse academic style that isolates such explorations from the reading public, it looks at grammar, semantics, syntax, and lexicography as interconnected disciplines always linked to the history and currents defining culture. Structurally, the article is divided into two parts: the first part is a personal reflection of linguistics as a discipline; the second is a proposal for a never-before attempted history of the Spanish language written from the perspective of a Latino scholar.
The drama produced by Native Americans has its roots in ceremonies that are performative but have largely been sustained orally. Modern Native drama emerged in the mid-1960s, following the establishment of a theater program for Native artists by the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. The year 1972 saw the coalescence of Native drama, thanks to a program of Native plays made possible by the collaboration between Hanay Geiogamah’s American Indian Theater Ensemble (later Native American Theater Ensemble) and La Mama Experimental Theater Club in New York. Eight years later, Native drama was codified bibliographically, when New Native American Drama, a collection of three of Geiogamah’s plays, was issued by the University of Oklahoma Press. This chapter is about Native and non-Native playwrights such as Geiogamah, Lynn Riggs, Spiderwoman Theater, Monique Mojica, Diana Glancy, Marie Clements, Tomson Highway, Daniel David Moses, and N. Scott Momaday.
This article examines forms and uses of theatricality in recent African American productions on slavery in the performing and the visual arts. It argues that by deploying modes of the comic, such as satire and parody, along with racial stereotypes, in their engagement with the traumatic history of slavery, contemporary artworks aim to provoke their audiences into an affective relationship with the artwork and the history it represents. In this manner, they seek to bring into focus not the past itself but our present-day reactions to it, asking viewers to reflect on their involvement with the ongoing mimetic and affective legacies of New World slavery. The article discusses Suzan-Lori Parks’s 1996 play Venus and Kara Walker’s 2014 installation A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby as case studies.
This article identifies a particular subgenre of the road narrative, the transgender road narrative, analyzing the film Transamerica and the novel Nevada as representative examples. The first part draws on transgender studies scholarship, showing how these texts both depict a long history of trans (im)mobility and engage with the affective geographies of gender transitioning, including the idea of the body as home. The second part draws on ecocriticism and environmental humanities scholarship, comparing how Transamerica and Nevada depict landscapes and environments in relation to trans bodies. This article thus takes this subgenre as an opportunity to explore the intersection of transgender issues and environmental issues and subsequently to develop a new line of inquiry that we might call “trans ecology.” (This article has been commissioned as a supplement to The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism, edited by Greg Garrard.)