Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
No Cover Image


  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Struggles over space and resistance to geographic displacement gave birth to much of Chicano history and culture. In this pathfinding book, Raúl Villa explores how California Chicano/a activists, journalists, writers, artists, and musicians have used expressive culture to oppose the community-destroying forces of urban renewal programs and massive freeway development and to create and defend a sense of Chicano place-identity.

    Villa opens with a historical overview that shows how Chicano communities and culture have grown in response to conflicts over space ever since the United States' annexation of Mexican territory in the 1840s. Then, turning to the work of contemporary members of the Chicano intelligentsia such as Helena Maria Viramontes, Ron Arias, and Lorna Dee Cervantes, Villa demonstrates how their expressive practices re-imagine and re-create the dominant urban space as a community enabling place. In doing so, he illuminates the endless interplay in which cultural texts and practices are shaped by and act upon their social and political contexts.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79892-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction Spatial Practice and Place-Consciousness in Chicano Urban Culture
    (pp. 1-18)

    The consequences of geographic displacement loom large in Chicano historical memory, characterized, among other things, by the determining effects of land loss, shifting and porous national borders, coerced and voluntary migrations, and disparate impacts of urban development. The 1848 annexation of former Mexican territory—as a result of the Mexican-American War—into what is now the United States Southwest is the originary moment in the general subordination ofmexicanos-cum–Mexican Americans. Their resulting second-order citizenship was compelled by a variety of legal and extralegal social processes that contributed to the ‘‘racial formation’’ (Omi andWinant 1986) of American society in which...

  5. ONE Creative Destruction Founding Anglo Los Angeles on the Ruins of El Pueblo
    (pp. 19-65)

    Although California became a state in the American union (1850) shortly after the end of the Mexican-American War, the full cultural dislocation of the laboringpobladorclass and the displacement from power of the elite, landowning Californios was not immediately effected in Southern California, isolated as it was from the national economic system by the lack of a connection to the growing national railroad network. The demographic and infrastructural machinery for a generalizedmexicanodeterritorialization did not gain steam until the completion of the first transcontinental railroad trunk line from San Francisco in 1876, and the subsequent arrival of direct...

  6. TWO From Military-Industrial Complex to Urban-Industrial Complex Promoting and Protesting the Supercity
    (pp. 66-110)

    Describing the ideological context for the rising anti-Mexican sentiments of the early 1940s, Rodolfo Acuña noted that ‘‘the war-like propaganda conducted during the repatriation [campaigns of the 1930s] reinforced in the minds of many Anglos the stereotype that Mexican Americans were aliens. The events of 1942 proved the extent of Anglo racism’’ (1988:254). The principal occurrence he goes on to recount is the mainstream media’s demonization of Chicano youth in conjunction with the 1942 ‘‘Sleepy Lagoon’’ murder trial of twenty-two members of the 38th Street Club. This major instance of the ruling law and media effects was followed by the...

  7. THREE ‘‘Phantoms in Urban Exile’’ Critical Soundings from Los Angeles’ Expressway Generation
    (pp. 111-155)

    Cutting a broad swath through the central-city barrios, the juggernaut of Los Angeles’ postwar redevelopment effected its devastations upon a wide cross section of the Chicano community. For many contemporary writers and artists who grew up in the path or in the shadow of this voracious growth engine, lived experience provided the raw material that they would later transmute into compelling barriological expressions. Like the range of discourses treated in Chapter 2—including critical journalism, activist scholarship, and revisionist historical narratives—the creative forms and thematic contents of texts produced in the 1980s and 1990s also serve to ‘‘identify and...

  8. FOUR Art against Social Death Symbolic and Material Spaces of Chicano Cultural Re-creation
    (pp. 156-202)

    The motif of social death has been shown to be among the most persistent figures of Chicano structural oppression within an aggressive dominant culture. If many Chicanos in contemporary California, like theirmexicanoand Californio ancestors, have not yet retired to the land of the dead, it is not for lack of external pressures to do so. The disparate impacts of hegemonic urban planning and its attendant social ills continue to pose real material threats to the cultural well-being—if not the very lives—of poor and working-class Chicanos. However, the impulse among barrio residents to defend and enrich their...

  9. FIVE Between Nationalism and Women’s Standpoint Lorna Dee Cervantes’ Freeway Poems
    (pp. 203-233)

    If the Los Angeles metropolitan region is a paradigmatic site of modern urban restructuring—with all of its attendant problems and promises—it is not the only place in California to have been monumentally refashioned in the contemporary period. While no other city in the state (or the nation) has surpassed the sheer volume of Los Angeles’ twentieth-century spatial and demographic expansion, the pace of urban development in the quarter century following World War II was matched by San Jose, its later-blooming doppelganger to the north. TheLos Angeles Times-led growth interests of the postwar period had their counterparts in...

  10. Epilogue Return to the Source
    (pp. 234-242)

    From an initial dissertation inquiry into the literary representations of urban Chicano experience, this study has grown and deepened in proportion to my expanding relationship with the city where I am making my place. Being in Los Angeles regularly compels me to reflect upon the intersections of urbanism, identity, and expressive practice in Chicano culture. InParis Spleen, Charles Baudelaire noted that ‘‘it was, above all, out of my exploration of huge cities, out of the medley of their innumerable relationships,’’ that the inspiration for his poetic urban discourse ‘‘was born’’ (1970:x). Without pretending any poetic quality for my own...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 243-250)
    (pp. 251-264)
    (pp. 265-266)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 267-274)