Enfleshment: Beneath the Body Lies Flesh

  • Roberta Hurtado
Part of the Literatures of the Americas book series (LOA)


This chapter maps the distinction between narratives that are inscribed on a body versus a motif of enfleshment, which brings flesh back to the bones of Latina experience. It identifies the conceptual genealogies of the “body” from Enlightenment philosophies through to their current instantiations within embodiment studies. It unpacks the methods through which the concept of “human” takes on default characteristics of gender, race, ethnicity, and geography. This analysis produces a nuanced reading of literature written by Puerto Rican women that represent experiences of sociopolitical violence. This chapter specifically examines Judith Ortiz Cofer’s poetry that depicts US Government-sanctioned Zero Population Growth Policies of the twentieth century, which resulted in over 1/3 of Puertorriqueñas becoming reproductively sterilized. My analysis of Ortiz Cofer’s poetry, in conjunction with a larger sociopolitical context, elucidates a creative method that relays experiences of violence without relying on conceptual genealogies of dehumanization.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta Hurtado
    • 1
  1. 1.State University of New York at OswegoOswegoUSA

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