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Postnationalism in Chicana/o Literature and Culture

Ellie D. Hernández
Copyright Date: 2009
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    Postnationalism in Chicana/o Literature and Culture
    Book Description:

    In recent decades, Chicana/o literary and cultural productions have dramatically shifted from a nationalist movement that emphasized unity to one that openly celebrates diverse experiences. Charting this transformation,Postnationalism in Chicana/o Literature and Culturelooks to the late 1970s, during a resurgence of global culture, as a crucial turning point whose reverberations in twenty-first-century late capitalism have been profound.

    Arguing for a postnationalism that documents the radical politics and aesthetic processes of the past while embracing contemporary cultural and sociopolitical expressions among Chicana/o peoples, Hernández links the multiple forces at play in these interactions. Reconfiguring text-based analysis, she looks at the comparative development of movements within women's rights and LGBTQI activist circles. Incorporating economic influences, this unique trajectory leads to a new conception of border studies as well, rethinking the effects of a restructured masculinity as a symbol of national cultural transformation. Ultimately positing that globalization has enhanced the emergence of new Chicana/o identities, Hernández cultivates important new understandings of borderlands identities and postnationalism itself.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79360-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. vii-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-14)

    In this book I consider postnationalism as a precursor to Chicana/o transnational culture, though some prefer the term “borderlands” or even “Latina/o globalization” to discuss the myriad dislocations of U.S. Mexican-American culture developing over the past thirty years. Throughout the book, I enumerate the processes by which Chicanas/os gain entry into transnational cultural formations. No single social, political, or disciplinary process provides a thorough answer to all facets of transnational identity. While traditional elements of nationhood or of belonging, in the case of national minorities, still exist in ethnic, race, and class structures, I conclude that gender and sexuality offer...

  5. One POSTNATIONALISM: Encountering the Global (pp. 15-50)

    “Transnational” global culture refers to those forms of language, custom, politics, goods, and services that pertain to exchange across and beyond national borders.¹ Transnational identity formation pertains to people’s national identities as they encounter the effects of transnational culture. In this study, Chicanas/os’ identities take on added significance when the role of the national serves to limit the interconnectedness of their national experiences to one nation or one set of experiences. Despite any geographical separation or theorization about the colonial experience, neither globalism nor transnationalism serves the purpose of achieving the appropriate view of Chicanas/os at this moment in time....

  6. Two IDEALIZED PASTS: Discourses on Chicana Postnationalism (pp. 51-82)

    The ideas, activist movements, and professional groups that compose today’s Chicana feminism developed from a refusal to identify with either Anglo-American feminists in the U.S. feminist movement or male counterparts in themovimiento chicano.This refusal to identify with and ascribe to these national social movements accounts for Chicana feminism’s origins, and at the same time, this location of seeming instability creates an ambiguous outline about its own identity and trajectory within the national frame.¹ Although most feminist critical studies and commentaries about the formation of Chicana feminism attest to a variety of exclusionary practices and erasures, Chicanas attempted to...

  7. Three CULTURAL BORDERLANDS: The Limits of National Citizenship (pp. 83-108)

    The New World Border, Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s apocalyptic vision of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, follows a nihilistic thread of global culture. The uncertainty and gloom that characterizeThe New World Border’s provocative angle of cultural citizenship proclaim that the lost identities have now been replaced by a world of “borderization.” The textual montage of border representation composed of photography and spoken word, arranged in endless and unnerving chaotic narrative sequences, forebodes and at the same time beckons the instability of the Mexican and Chicana/o identity within globalization. Taking aim at static culture’s failures, represented in the political styles of Chicana/o nationalism and...

  8. Four CHICANA/O FASHION CODES: The Political Significance of Style (pp. 109-124)

    Chicana/o fashion trends throughout the twentieth century constitute a series of political encounters in American culture. The political use of clothes or fashion elicits a “stylization” of ethnicity and captures Chicanas/os’ subject formation across the vast historical and intersectional political moments of identity play. From the rural to the cosmopolitan, youth cultures and even structural elements inhered in social gender and class relations influence dress codes. The provocative, emblematic stylizations offered by Chicana/o culture’s fashion codes oppose dominant culture in creative ways (Parkins 2002).

    While fashion predominates as a powerful consumer element particularly in a vibrant youth market, emblems of...


    The publication of the autobiographyHunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguezin 1982 changed our understanding of the Chicana/o autobiographical tradition.¹ The text, which we might also see as one of the first Chicana/o queer texts, reveals the problematic fissures of identity formation in Chicana/o discourse. As much disdain as Rodriguez’ political views have brought to Chicana/o and Latina/o studies alike,Hunger of Memoryis still widely read, taught, and written about from various perspectives. Rodriguez did set into motion several polemical issues, making the case for performativity and more specifically providing a counternarrative to national culture. Numerous...


    Chicana/o gay and lesbian identities have not emerged from a single movement or from larger historical dialectics, such as it has been defined in U.S. gay and lesbian methodological and historical theorizations or even within Chicana/o discourses in which discussions about homosexuality have been explicitly rejected and ignored (D’Emilio 1983, Rich 1995). Ironically, Chicana/o queer sexuality and its representations predominated in scholarly arenas throughout the 1980s and 1990s due to the influence of Chicana lesbian thought and the movements toward social change. Chicana/o queer formation facilitated a critique of cultural nationalism and of U.S. hegemonic queer formation and its historiography...

  11. CONCLUSION (pp. 183-190)

    The postnational was an adjustment phase, a period of immense progress and growth. Despite the different political elements and issues with the advancement of capitalism, it has not diminished the need for Chicanas/os’ scholarly and creative work. On the contrary, the “postnationality” framing of this book is a way to account for the previous nationalist aspects of the Chicana/o movement that occurred as a result of the advancement of global capital disruptions. Chicanas/os’ traversal of the national, global, and transnational fields of study

    affords an initial examination and even more study. Such intense movements of people and commerce at the...

  12. NOTES (pp. 191-202)
  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY (pp. 203-228)
  14. INDEX (pp. 229-248)


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