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War Echoes

War Echoes: Gender and Militarization in U.S. Latina/o Cultural Production

Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    War Echoes
    Book Description:

    War Echoesexamines how Latina/o cultural production has engaged with U.S. militarism in the post-Viet Nam era. Analyzing literature alongside film, memoir, and activism, Ariana E. Vigil highlights the productive interplay among social, political, and cultural movements while exploring Latina/o responses to U.S. intervention in Central America and the Middle East. These responses evolved over the course of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries-from support for anti-imperial war, as seen in Alejandro Murguia'sSouthern Front, to the disavowal of all war articulated in works such as Demetria Martinez'sMother Tongueand Camilo Mejia'sRoad from Ar Ramadi. With a focus on how issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality intersect and are impacted by war and militarization,War Echoesillustrates how this country's bellicose foreign policies have played an integral part in shaping U.S. Latina/o culture and identity and given rise to the creation of works that recognize how militarized violence and values, such as patriarchy, hierarchy, and obedience, are both enacted in domestic spheres and propagated abroad.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-6935-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. Preface
    (pp. IX-XIV)
  4. Introduction: Gender, War, and Activism in Contemporary U.S. Latina/o Cultural Production
    (pp. 1-26)

    In October 2003 Camilo Mejía, the son of the well-known Sandinista sympathizer and internationally famous folk singer Carlos Mejía Godoy, became the first U.S. soldier to publicly refuse to redeploy as part of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The idea of the son of Sandinista revolutionaries fighting in an imperial invasion appears implausible, even unbelievable. However, Mejía’s trajectory, including his enlistment and subsequent antiwar activism, is indicative of how U.S. military intervention and responses to U.S. militarism have given rise to new kinds of U.S. Latina/o political, cultural, and social commitments and movements. Neither Mejía’s participation in the U.S. Army...

  5. 1 Gender, Difference, and the FSLN Insurrection
    (pp. 27-63)

    In a conversation at her home in Oakland, California, in 2007, Nina Serrano described how she became involved in both Nicaraguan solidarity work and filmmaking. Her story emphasized the significant role of her gender and ethnic identity and the impact these had on her political and artistic orientation. After telling me about her Colombian-Anglo heritage, Serrano described her Central American solidarity work and her meeting with the Salvadoran poet and member of the Salvadoran Communist Party Roque Dalton in Cuba in 1969. Dalton noticed the Spanish headline of a local San Francisco community paper Serrano had and questioned her about...

  6. 2 “I Have Something to Tell You”: Polyvocality, Theater, and the Performance of Solidarity in U.S. Latina Narratives of the Guatemalan Civil War
    (pp. 64-91)

    When U.S. media outlets sought to tell the life story of one of the first casualties of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, they found themselves on the streets of Guatemala City, immersed in the reality of a nation still recovering from over thirty years of civil war. José Antonio Gutiérrez, a lance corporal in the U.S. Marines, was killed on March 21, 2003, in Iraq. The paradoxes inherent in Gutiérrez’s life and his relationship to U.S. militarism are stark: orphaned during a genocidal U.S.-backed civil war in Guatemala, the young boy’s few opportunities included immigrating to the United States...

  7. 3 Demetria Martínez’s Mother Tongue and the Politics of Decolonial Love
    (pp. 92-120)

    In the last homily before his assassination on March 24, 1980, Archbishop Oscar A. Romero of El Salvador exhorted his listeners to understand the political involvement and commitment that love requires. The Gospel, Romero (1985, 191) explained, warns against “[loving] oneself so much as to avoid getting involved in the risks of life that history demands of us.” Perhaps suspecting that his death was imminent, Romero insisted that “those who out of love for Christ give themselves to the service of others will live, like the grain of wheat that dies, but only apparently.… The harvest comes about only because...

  8. 4 Father, Army, Nation: Familial Discourse and Ambivalent Homonationalism in José Zuniga’s Soldier of the Year
    (pp. 121-155)

    Prior to President Barack Obama’s rescinding of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT), the U.S. military’s policy toward gay and lesbian service members established during the Clinton administration, radical queer activists offered their own perspective on the place of sexual minorities within the armed forces.¹ In a tongue-in-cheek reference to the policy, posters by the organization Against Equality extolled viewers, “Do ask! Don’t shoot!” Placed in urban queer environments such as San Francisco’s Castro District, the posters reflected a different form of opposition to DADT than that found in the political platforms of mainstream gay rights organizations.² The words, emanating from...

  9. 5 Camilo Mejía’s Public Rebellion and the Formation of Transnational Latina/o Identity
    (pp. 156-188)

    In his concluding remarks to a collection of testimony by U.S. veterans of the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, Camilo Mejía (2008), chair of the board of Iraq Veterans against the War (IVAW), systematically refutes both neo-imperial and liberal justifications for the continued occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only does he call the occupations “illegal and immoral,” but he also contests ideas concerning democracy, free speech and “supporting” Iraqi civilians and military personnel. Repeating a phrase often used in relation to the U.S. mission in Iraq, Mejía asserts that “the hearts and minds” of Iraqis cannot be won until...

  10. Coda
    (pp. 189-196)

    In 2013 the contemporary music group La Santa Cecilia,¹ the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, and filmmaker Alex Rivera teamed up to offer a nuanced portrayal of the impact of a militarized immigration policy on the everyday lives of U.S. residents. Focusing on Latinas/os in an urban environment, the video for the song “ICE/El Hielo” presents a narrative account of several individuals whose lives intersect with one another and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.² The music video closely follows three people: a young ICE agent, a young woman who works at a restaurant, and a middle-aged man who works in...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 197-214)
  12. Works Cited
    (pp. 215-228)
  13. Index
    (pp. 229-234)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 235-235)