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In the Spirit of a New People

In the Spirit of a New People: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement

Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 241
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  • Book Info
    In the Spirit of a New People
    Book Description:

    Reexamining the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s,In the Spirit of a New Peoplebrings to light new insights about social activism in the twentieth-century and new lessons for progressive politics in the twenty-first. Randy J. Ontiveros explores the ways in which Chicano/a artists and activists used fiction, poetry, visual arts, theater, and other expressive forms to forge a common purpose and to challenge inequality in America.Focusing on cultural politics, Ontiveros reveals neglected stories about the Chicano movement and its impact: how writers used the street press to push back against the network news; how visual artists such as Santa Barraza used painting, installations, and mixed media to challenge racism in mainstream environmentalism; how El Teatro Campesino's innovative actos, or short skits,sought to embody new, more inclusive forms of citizenship; and how Sandra Cisneros and other Chicana novelists broadened the narrative of the Chicano movement.In the Spirit of a New Peoplearticulates a fresh understanding of how the Chicano movement contributed to the social and political currents of postwar America, and how the movement remains meaningful today.Randy J. Ontiverosis Associate Professor of English and an affiliate in U.S. Latina/o Studies and Women's Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-3888-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  4. Introduction: The Art and History of the Chicano Movement
    (pp. 1-43)

    What significance does the Chicano movement have today? This question is at the heart of the book you hold in your hands, but it is not an easy one to ask, let alone to answer. Many people have never heard of the Chicano movement, a nationwide campaign during the 1960s and after for the civil rights of Mexican Americans. Some individuals faintly recall the movement from brief mention of it in the pages of their high school or college textbooks, while others know of the movement, but don’t believe it holds any relevance in their lives. Progressives often celebrate the...

  5. 1 Antennas and Mimeograph Machines: Postwar Mass Media and the Chicano/a Street Press
    (pp. 44-85)

    On August 30, 1972, a small group of young Chicano/a activists invaded Catalina Island. Their move was part of what they called the Marcha de la Reconquista, a three-month “Reconquest March” aimed at drawing attention to the long history of discrimination against Mexicans in America. Dressed in combat boots, khaki uniforms, and their signature cap, the contingent of Brown Berets raised a Mexican flag over the Avalon harbor and claimed to retake the popular American locale on behalf of Mexico. Anxious to avoid a televised confrontation, local authorities initially tolerated the group. After several weeks, though, on September 23, the...

  6. 2 Green Aztlán: Environmentalism and the Chicano/a Visual Arts
    (pp. 86-130)

    On April 22, 1970, millions of people gathered in cities and towns across the United States for what turned out to be one of the largest political mobilizations in the nation’s history.¹ That first Earth Day made environmentalism a focal point of American political discourse. Individuals who once had only a passing concern about ecology began to change their everyday behaviors. Richard Nixon, ordinarily no friend of federal regulation, established the Environmental Protection Agency. Congress quickly approved major pieces of legislation, including the Clean Air Act of 1970 and the Clean Water Act of 1972. Four decades later, Earth Day...

  7. 3 Immigrant Actos: Citizenship and Performance in El Teatro Campesino
    (pp. 131-169)

    The first years of the twenty-first century have been witness to intense attacks on some of the most vulnerable populations in the United States, including the undocumented workers whose cheap labor subsidized much of the boom economy of the 1990s and the early years of the twenty-first century. On December 16, 2005, after more than four years of post-9/11 fearmongering, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4437, a piece of legislation that attempted to criminalize undocumented migrants by making “entry without inspection” a felony offense instead of a civil infraction. Thanks to mass mobilizations by migrants and their allies in...

  8. 4 After Words: Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo and the Evolution of Chicano/a Cultural Politics
    (pp. 170-196)

    Ignacio García, a participant-turned-historian of the Chicano movement, argues in an often-cited essay from 1996 that the field of Chicano/a studies must decide whether to continue its descent into irrelevance, or to recover its activist roots by reaffirming the principles of the 1969 “Plan de Santa Barbara.” His is a typical movement elegy, with sincere mourning over the lost “militancy” of the 1960s and 1970s, juxtaposed alongside frustration with a perceived “growing conservatism and narcissistic attitude” among students and faculty in the 1980s and after.¹ García blames a number of forces for this decline, but notable among them is what...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 197-226)
  10. Index
    (pp. 227-233)
  11. About the Author
    (pp. 234-234)