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meXicana Encounters

meXicana Encounters: The Making of Social Identities on the Borderlands

Rosa Linda Fregoso
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: 1
Pages: 238
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt1pn5h6
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  • Book Info
    meXicana Encounters
    Book Description:

    meXicana Encounterscharts the dynamic and contradictory representation of Mexicanas and Chicanas in culture. Rosa Linda Fregoso's deft analysis of the cultural practices and symbolic forms that shape social identities takes her across a wide and varied terrain. Among the subjects she considers are the recent murders and disappearances of women in Ciudad Juárez; transborder feminist texts that deal with private, domestic forms of violence; how films like John Sayles'sLone Starre-center white masculinity; and the significance ofla familiato the identity of Chicanas/os and how it can subordinate gender and sexuality to masculinity and heterosexual roles. Fregoso's self-reflexive approach to cultural politics embraces the movement for social justice and offers new insights into the ways that racial and gender differences are inscribed in cultural practices.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93728-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. CHAPTER ONE Toward a Planetary Civil Society
    (pp. 1-29)

    The campaign to end the killing of women in Ciudad Juárez took the name “Ni una más.” Ni una más en Ciudad Juárez. Not one more murdered woman in Ciudad Juárez. Mothers and grandmothers, women’s rights and human rights groups, and friends from both sides of the border joined in a movement of denunciation, demanding an end to the most sordid and barbarous series of gender killings in Mexico’s history. By mid-2002, there were 282 victims of feminicide in this city across the border from El Paso, Texas, and more than four hundred disappeared women.¹ “Ni una más” stages women’s...

  7. CHAPTER TWO Cross-Border Feminist Solidarities
    (pp. 30-47)

    In their self-help book for Latinas,The Maria Paradox, Rosa Maria Gil and Carmen Inoa Vásquez outline the Ten Commandments of Marianismo, or the Latino patriarchy’s do’s and don’t’s for Latinas.¹ The ninth commandment is of particular interest for those of us who consistently break the silence and expose intracommunity problems. It states: “Do not discuss personal problems outside the home.” While I am not an exponent of cultural truisms or essentialisms, this interdiction is one that many of us—Catholic Chicanas, Mexicanas, and Latinas—heard as we were growing up, and recently it has been employed to regulate the...

  8. CHAPTER THREE Gender, Multiculturalism, and the Missionary Position on the Borderlands
    (pp. 48-70)

    InPlaying in the Dark, Toni Morrison writes: “The imaginative and historical terrain upon which American writers journeyed is in large measure shaped by the presence of the racial other.”¹ There is no denying what Morrison calls the “Africanist presence” in U.S. culture. Until very recently, however, the “Mexicanist presence” was rarely acknowledged as also shaping “the imaginative and historical terrain upon which American writers” [and, I would add, artists, musicians, and filmmakers] journeyed.” In fact,Lone Star(directed by John Sayles, 1996) figures as one of those rare instances in the history of U.S. cinema in which the Mexicanist...

  9. CHAPTER FOUR The Chicano Familia Romance
    (pp. 71-90)

    “I remember mi familia” are the final words spoken by Paco Sánchez, the maudlin narrator in the filmMy Family(1995). This is not just his own particular familia that Paco is remembering. The trailing resonance in his voice, heightened by deliberate guitar strumming in the style of El Trio Los Panchos ringing over the L.A. sunset, suggests that Paco’s familia, the Sánchez familia, areourfamilia, the familia of la raza, the people of Mexican origin in the United States. Overshadowed by the “theme of remembrance,”¹My Familyis a Chicano family romance, an epic composed of memory traces...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Familia Matters
    (pp. 91-102)

    As a young girl growing up in South Texas, I remember my fascination with “pachucas.” Precursors to today’s “homegirls,” the pachucas of my youth embodied adolescent rebellion, sexuality, and deviance—an urban toughness and coolness usually associated with masculine behavior. Walking to Catholic school wearing a navy-blue pleated uniform and two-toned Oxfords, I admired their hipster fashion: tight, short skirts and fitted sweaters/blouses, kaleidoscopic makeup and, extravagant beehives. They were my mythic figures, outspoken and confrontational, fighting and smoking cigarettes on street corners and outside tienditas (barrio grocery stores) and thus carving their presence in the public sphere. It was...

  11. CHAPTER SIX “Fantasy Heritage”: Tracking Latina Bloodlines
    (pp. 103-125)

    Carey McWilliams first coined the term “fantasy heritage” during the 1940s in his trenchant deconstruction of the Mission myth.¹ Most often attributed to Helen Hunt Jackson’sRamona(1884), the Mission myth entailed reinventing a romantic Spanish history for California—a fictionalized past exploited by Los Angeles “Boosters” bent on transforming the region into the cultural and economic capital of the West.² “Discovered as a tourist promotion in the 1880s,” McWilliams writes, “the Spanish mission background in Southern California was inflated to mythical proportions.”³ “Fantasy heritage” named the selective appropriation of historical fact, the transformation of selected elements of history (e.g.,...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Haunted by Miscegenation
    (pp. 126-147)

    One year after the war between Mexico and the United States has ended, the native Californios (California Mexicans) notice a shift in public perception. The year is 1849. Tens of thousands invade California, not from the southern hemisphere but from the eastern part of the continent. They are lured into the region by the discovery of gold in Sutter’s Coloma Mill. It is soon after the white, Anglo immigrants outnumber the Californios that the surprising shift occurs:

    When rumor circulated that “foreigners” had no right to work the pacers and would be pushed out of the mining area . ....

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Ghosts of a Mexican Past
    (pp. 148-168)

    This book evolved over decades, beginning in a time when I first connected to the old story of Mexican Corpus Christi through my Gramma Angelita’s memories. On this day in 1971, my maternal grandmother has taken time off from tending the store to indulge me in an interview for a history assignment. As part of a “time capsule” project, my history class was charged with chronicling the life story of the family’s eldest member. I recall that the transcripts of the interviews we conducted were to be collocated in a time capsule together with other identifiable memorabilia of our time...

  14. Epilogue
    (pp. 169-170)

    “We are a people that has seen the ground beneath our feet renamed several times over the last five hundred years.”¹ From the perverse images of meXicanas circulating in the cultural landscape, one would never know the historical truth behind John Phillip Santos’s words. There in the “unrecorded parallel history” of meXicanas is evidence of an “absence/presence” that haunts the national imaginary. One cannot underestimate the import of their abjection in the realm of culture, for through the disavowal of the former Mexican inhabitants of the Southwest, through their eviction, the nation defined itself.

    On the eve of the twenty-first...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 171-198)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 199-210)
  17. Index
    (pp. 211-219)