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Velvet Barrios pp 215-227 | Cite as

Gendered Bodies and Borders in Contemporary Chican@ Performance and Literature

  • Suzanne Chávez-Silverman
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)

Abstract

In this essay, an examination of gender and sexuality in contemporary Chican@performance and literary practices, I seek to situate myself as a Chicana ethno-critic, meaning not only an “ethnically” self-identified critic or a critic of “ethnic” discourse, but also engaging Arnold Krupat’s description of ethnocriticism as “a critical practice … freely choosing a commitment to the production of whatever narratives … may serve to tell the emerging story of culture change today and in the future.”1 My intention here is to probe the contours of the overdetermined sign of “the” border, showing it to be—showing how it can be (seen as)—a more porous, eroticized, embodied site. My focus in my bor-derologia —my “border research”—is the body, and more specifically how the female body is implicated and co-opted in the heteronormative project of both mainstream Anglo and some Chicano representations. I have also found, however, in the writings of women of color, especially those of Chicana lesbians, a deliberate reconfiguration of the border, a reclaiming and remapping of the margins as, to use bell hooks’s well-known phrase, “a site of resistance” in which the female body is neither fallen nor exalted, fragmented nor fetishized. I will return to this space, which I call fronterótica or borderotics, later.

Keywords

Female Body Impartial Spectator Culture Clash Gender Body Performance Piece 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Arnold Krupat, Ethnocriticism: Ethnography, History, Literature (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press 1992), 126.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Guillermo Gómez-Peáa, Warrior for Gringostroika (Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 1993), 37.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Craig Owens, Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1992), 194.Google Scholar
  4. 11.
    John Leguizamo, Mambo Mouth (New York: Bantam Books, 1993), 16.Google Scholar
  5. 14.
    Sandra Cisneros, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories (New York: Vintage Books, 1992), 68.Google Scholar
  6. 16.
    Still one of the most powerful, eloquent explorations of betrayal, of the Mal-intzin-Malinche legacy, and of the mother-daughter relationship is the section “Traitor Begets Traitor” (98–102) in Cherrie Moraga’s Loving in the War Years (Boston: South End Press, 1983). I thank Paul Allatson for reminding me of this.Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    Michelle Wallace, “Negative Images: Towards a Black Feminist Criticism,” in The Cultural Studies Reader ed. Simon During (London: Routledge, 1993), 130.Google Scholar
  8. 24.
    Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Beggar on the Córdoba Bridge, in Chicana Poetry: Three Times a Woman (Tempe, AZ: Bilingual Review/Press, 1989), 5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alicia Gaspar de Alba 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suzanne Chávez-Silverman

There are no affiliations available

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