Chicana Feminisms

A Critical Reader

Chicana Feminisms

Post-Contemporary Interventions

More about this series

Book Pages: 408 Illustrations: 16 illus. Published: July 2003

Chicanx and Latinx Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Theory and Philosophy > Race and Indigeneity

Chicana Feminisms presents new essays on Chicana feminist thought by scholars, creative writers, and artists. This volume moves the field of Chicana feminist theory forward by examining feminist creative expression, the politics of representation, and the realities of Chicana life. Drawing on anthropology, folklore, history, literature, and psychology, the distinguished contributors combine scholarly analysis, personal observations, interviews, letters, visual art, and poetry. The collection is structured as a series of dynamic dialogues: each of the main pieces is followed by an essay responding to or elaborating on its claims. The broad range of perspectives included here highlights the diversity of Chicana experience, particularly the ways it is made more complex by differences in class, age, sexual orientation, language, and region. Together the essayists enact the contentious, passionate conversations that define Chicana feminisms.

The contributors contemplate a number of facets of Chicana experience: life on the Mexico-U.S. border, bilingualism, the problems posed by a culture of repressive sexuality, the ranchera song, and domesticana artistic production. They also look at Chicana feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, the history of Chicanas in the larger Chicano movement, autobiographical writing, and the interplay between gender and ethnicity in the movie Lone Star. Some of the essays are expansive; others—such as Norma Cantú’s discussion of the writing of her fictionalized memoir Canícula—are intimate. All are committed to the transformative powers of critical inquiry and feminist theory.

Contributors. Norma Alarcón, Gabriela F. Arredondo, Ruth Behar, Maylei Blackwell, Norma E. Cantú, Sergio de la Mora, Ann duCille, Michelle Fine, Rosa Linda Fregoso, Rebecca M. Gámez, Jennifer González, Ellie Hernández, Aída Hurtado, Claire Joysmith, Norma Klahn, Amalia Mesa-Bains, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Anna Nieto Gomez, Renato Rosaldo, Elba Rosario Sánchez, Marcia Stephenson, Jose Manuel Valenzuela, Patricia Zavella


“The editors of Chicana Feminisms boldly publish Spanish and English texts, a significant move during a period of intense Xenophobia in the United States as anti-Mexican, anti-bilinguilism . . . The work is thoroughly transdisciplinary in its organization. The anthology is best read front to back in order to hear the method and theory of interlingual, intradialogic tracks . . . [each] systematically engaging a process of dialogue and debate.” — Karen Mary Davalos, Feminist Studies

“These texts are absolutely necessary because of mainstream academe’s marginalization of Chicana/Latina theory and feminisms.” — Kathryn Quinn-Sánchez , Chicana/Latina Studies

“This is a book that would promote lively discussion in advanced undergraduate and graduate classrooms, particularly because of its applicability to various legacies of activism and scholarship by feminists of color. It is refreshing to see scholars explicitly address the multiplicity of Chicana identities, inviting difference and celebrating regional, racial, sexual, generational, and other variations of Chicanisma.” — Gaye Theresa Johnson , NWSA Journal

"Chicana Feminisms . . . is the most ambitious work to date on the subject. . . . It is difficult to conceive of virtually any course in Chicana/o studies in which this book, if it is not used as a main text, should not be a recommended title." — David William Foster , Latin American Research Review

"Chicana Feminisms opens possibilities for anyone who is interested in reading about the ways in which feministas analyze their social worlds. . . . As no others before them, these writers capture the daily lives of Mexican and Mexican-descent working-class mujeres, embedding their narratives in the tensions and contradictions of social, political, and cultural forces that constrain and shape lives." — Josephine Mendez-Negrete, San Antonio Express-News

"[T]his book will be beneficial to graduate feminist and Chicana feminist theory courses in a variety of disciplines. The work demonstrates a need to continue reflectively rethinking Chicana activism, writing, and everyday lived experiences through first-person experiences, historically, and in contemporary times." — Mary Ann Villarreal , New Mexico Historical Review

"This book provides a solid collection of Chicana feminists' recent theorizing, research, and artistic expression. The variety of essays is stimulating to read, but its greatest utility will likely be in the classroom. A solid starting point for either feminist-theory classes or border-studies classes, this collection provides multiple perspectives and meanings for 'Chicana feminism.'" — Anthony Mora , Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"Thoughtful dialogues abound throughout the scholarship, poetry, and testimonials here. Not only does the book affirm the history and resiliency of feminist thought among Hispanic women, but each essay ultimately serves to remind us all of Hurtado's succinct assertion that 'to love oneself as a woman is a revolutionary act.'" — Maria Elena Buszek , Bust

“This remarkable collection of essays registers the efforts of Chicanas, against all odds, to document, imagine, and understand the complexity of their histories and experiences. Particularly impressive are the open-ended discussions between academics, artists, and writers. The essays brilliantly support the editors’ claim that the Chicanas have invented new forms and have intervened decisively in the debates on gender and ethnicity. Chicana Feminisms will be an essential reference for many years to come.” — Jean Franco, author of Critical Passions: Selected Essays

"Chicana Feminisms comes alive with theoretical and emotional responses from some of the most exciting thinkers in Chicana feminist social thought. This book is a truly momentous achievement. It will stand the test of time." — Laura I. Rendón, author of Educating a New Majority: Transforming America’s Educational System for Diversity


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Gabriela F. Arredondo is Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Aída Hurtado is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of Voicing Chicana Feminisms: Young Women Speak Out on Sexuality and Identity.

Norma Klahn is Professor of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz and coeditor of Las Nuevas Fronteras del Siglo XXI/New Frontiers of the 21st Century.

Olga Nájera-Ramírez is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and coeditor of Chicana Traditions: Continuity and Change.

Patricia Zavella is Professor of Latin American and Latina/o Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz and coauthor of Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios, published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Chicana Feminisms at the Crossroads: Disruptions in Dialogue 1

1. Cartohistografia: Continente de una voz / Cartohistography: One Voice’s Continent / Elba Rosario Sanchez 19

Response: Translating Herstory: A Reading of and Responses to Elba Rosario Sanchez / Renato Rosaldo 52

2. Contested Histories: Las Hijas de Cuauhtemoc, Chicana Feminisms, and Print Culture in the Chicano Movement, 1968–1973 / Maylei Blackwell 59

Response: Chicana Print Culture and Chicana Studies: A Testimony to the Development of Chicana Feminist Culture /Anna NietoGomez 90

3. The Writing of Canicula: Breaking Boundaries, Finding Forms, Norma E. Cantu 97

Response: Sad Moview Make Me Cry / Ruth Behar 109

4. Literary (Re)Mappings: Autobiographical (Dis)Placements by Chicana Writers / Norma Klahn 114

Response: (Re)Mapping mexicanidades: (Re)Locating Chicana Writings and Translation Politics / Claire Joysmith 146

5. Chronotope of Desire: Emma Perez’s Gulf Dreams / Ellie Hernandez 155

Response: The Lessons of Chicana Lesbian Fictions and Theories / Sergio de la Mora 178

6. Unruly Passions: Poetics, Performance, and Gender in the Ranchera Song / Olga Najera-Ramirez 184

Response: . . . Y volver a sufrir: Nuevos acercamientos al melodrama / Jose Manuel Valenzuela Arce 211

Translation of Response: . . . And to Suffer Again: New Approaches to Melodrama / Rebecca M. Gamez 220

7. Talkin’ Sex: Chicanas and Mexicanas Theorize about Silences and Sexual Pleasures / Patricia Zavella 228

Response: Questions of Pleasure / Michelle Fine 254

8. Underground Feminisms: Inocencia’s Story / Aida Hurtado 260

Response: Grounding Feminisms through La Vida de Inocencia / Gabriela F. Arredondo 291

9. Domesticana: The Sensibility of Chicana Rasquachismo / Amalia Mesa-Bains 298

Response: Invention as Critique: Neologisms in Chicana Art Theory / Jennifer Gonzalez 316

10. Reproduction and Miscegenation on the Borderlands: Mapping the Maternal Body of Tejanas / Rosa Linda Fregoso 324

Response: The Sterile Cuckoo Racha: Debugging Lone Star / Ann duCille 349

11. Anzaldua’s Frontera: Inscribing Gynetics / Norma Alarcon 354

Response: Inscribing Gynetics in the Bolivian Andes / Marcia Stephenson 370

Contributors 377

Index 383
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3141-4 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3105-6
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