Deconstructing the Mythical Homeland

Mexico in Contemporary Chicana Performance
  • Laura Gutiérrez
Part of the New Directions in Latino American Cultures book series (NDLAC)


As a deconstructive strategy, contemporary solo performance has become a symbolic “space” in which Chicanas challenge the historical processes that have affected their sense of self, be it through blatant exclusion, marginal inclusion, or distorted representation. As Alicia Arrizón has keenly pointed out in her study on Latina performance, Chicana performance artists are dealing “with the political contestations that have defined [their] sense of history and shaped [their] personal stories.”1 One of the signaling characteristics of a number of solo performance pieces is that they deploy the autobiography. Those contemporary Chicana performers who engage this strategy often do so by weaving historical, collective, and personal stories; in doing so, they actively participate in the politics of self-representation, something that has been historically barred to them. Performance art has allowed Chicanas to voice their gendered and sexu-alized self as this positioned articulation adds nuances to the various critical interventions that contemporary Chicano discourse already engages, that of race/ethnicity and class.


Border Crosser Mexican Immigrant Personal Story Performance Artist Identity Crisis 
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  1. 1.
    Alicia Arrizón, Latina Performance: Traversing the Stage (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1999), 74. Arrizón is referring specifically to the work of Chicana performance artists Laura Esparza and Nao Bustamante; however, her ideas are also applicable to the work of other Chicana performance artists, particularly in solo autobiographical pieces. For more studies of Chicana/Latina performance art, seeGoogle Scholar
  2. Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez, El Teatro Campesino: Theater in the Chicano Movement (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1994)Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Jorge Huerta, Chicano Drama: Performance, Society and Myth (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 11.Google Scholar
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    Emily Hicks, Border Writing (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), xxvi.Google Scholar
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    As Michel Pêcheux has elaborated the concept of disidentification, it “is the third mode of dealing with dominant ideology, one that neither opts to assimilate within such structure nor strictly oppose it; rather, disidentification is a strategy that works on and against dominant ideology.” Quoted in José Esteban Mu¡oz, Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999), 11. In Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of “Sex” (London and New York: Routledge, 1993), Judith Butler (following Slavov Zizek) is using the concept of disidentification in reference to a political strategy for identity and subject formation. And in Disidentifications José Esteban Mu¡oz racializes the term to discuss the strategy that queer performers of color deploy in their cultural work.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Marvin Carlson, Performance: A Critical Introduction (London and New York: Routledge, 1996), 115.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Alicia Gaspar de Alba 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Gutiérrez

There are no affiliations available

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