[This is the exact text of my talk. You can download a pdf version of all the slides: NACCS though I haven’t been able to reach Maria Teresa Fernandez to get her permission to repost them to the internet. She did give me permission to use them in my research when I spoke to her at USC in 2010. If anyone has a current email address for her, please send it to me at annemarie (dot) perez (at) me (dot) com ]
“for those who dream of roses / swallow thorns”: Aztlán as Cosmopolitical Space
I’ve included in this talk a photographs by Mexican artist Maria Teresa Fernandez. She’s documented the building of the Wall between the US and Mexico and the increasing militarization of the border. These first images are about the demise of Friendship Park, the point where the US and Mexico meet the Pacific ocean. Here’s the park as it was, a space for meeting friends and family on the other side.
Here it is as the barricade was erected in 2009, creating a yards wide distance between US residents and the border fence, dividing people.
New rules are in place forbidding contact that was, until recently, relatively casual and free.
Modern usage of the term Aztlán dates from the 1960s-1970s civil rights movements. . The poet Alturista gave Aztlán’s mythology in his poem introducing the journal Aztlan… Read the rest
I’ve spent the morning giving my talk –which I’m going to post here as soon as I figure out how to put it up– and attending sessions at NACCS. My first response to my first experience attending this conference is WOW — there are a lot of Chicanos and Chicanas here. Everyone is friendly and have been nothing but supportive, interested and above all enthusiastic. There’s a lot of celebration and old friends meeting, but a great deal of concern about the attacks on ethnic studies, especially those under way in Arizona.
I’m taking a break to get a little food and to blog about this presentation before I stop being able to read my notes.
I tried to tweet the sessions but (so far anyway)
I haven’t been able to get onto wifi at the hotel I have just been given wifi access so my tweeting has been was limited to what I can do on my phone. This was less than successful — I type too slow on it to really be able to keep up, plus my battery bit it half way through the second session.
The second session was a great presentation called “Chicana/a Archives and the Chicano Movement: A Discussion” by Southern California archivists working on building or maintaining university archives on Chicano/a history and community.
Even before the discussion started, they shared a link to a great resource — a picture archive on farmworker history called The Farmworker Movement Documentation Project. It has a great digital archive of documents and photo resources.… Read the rest
[In celebration of my dissertation being accepted today by my university’s library, I’m put up its abstract. Don’t worry, I’m probably not going to post the whole thing.]
Title: ”Splitting Aztlán: American Resistance and Chicana Visions of a Radical Utopia”
My dissertation researches American resistance movements, focusing on nineteenth-century Transcendentalism and the Chicano/a movements of the 1960s through 1990s. It is concerned specifically with the emergence of Chicano/a literature from the late nineteenth century through the twentieth century, especially Chicana authorship and editorship as part of a tradition of U.S. resistance literature.
The 1960s was a period of renewed interest in the literature of American Transcendentalist communities, especially the writings of David Henry Thoreau regarding resistance and civil disobedience. This re-reading shaped and informed American civil protest literature of the 1960s, including that of the Chicano Movement. Reverberations connect the two periods in the area of non-violent social protest. Further resonances may be heard now between the nineteenth-century suffrage and abolitionist movements and the 1960s civil rights and anti-war movements, as they questioned the United States’ role as an imperial nation — a role begun with the nineteenth-century policy of Manifest Destiny.
The replication of and discursive focus on nation and universalized communities of men, opened space for women as editors and authors. Chicana writers and editors of the late twentieth century, like the protofeminists of the nineteenth-century suffrage movement, split the single “divine soul” by pointing out the contradictions and flaws in a discourse on the nation which presumes only masculine subjects. … Read the rest
I’m giving a paper for the National Association of Chicana Chicano Studies conference. This will be my first time attending. The conference is being held in Pasadena this year.
Even though I could probably rent a car and drive there and back each day, I decided to pay to stay at the hotel. Part of the reason is convenience — my paper is at 9:00 AM the first day and I don’t want to have to drive through rush hour traffic and worry about being late. But the other reason is I really want to experience the conference, come early, stay late and all that. This seems an obvious thing to say, but I know I won’t be as likely to be there if I’m not actually there.
The paper I’m giving is a bit of a re-hash of a paper I gave in September 2010 at St. John’s College in Durham. It’s on re-envisioning Aztlán as cosmopolitan space. I’m nervous about giving it in a way I wasn’t nervous in England. The scholars at the conference in the UK knew lots about cosmopolitanism but knew nothing about Chicano/a studies or Aztlán. Here I’ll be talking to people who not only know about it, but may feel invested in other visions and definitions of Aztlán. It preys upon all my fears of not being “really” Chicana, or not Chicana enough.
That said, I’m so looking forward to spending a three days immersed in Chicano/a studies surrounded by Chicano/a scholars. How cool is that?… Read the rest
God, I can’t tell you how weird it is to write that. It’s been this guilty millstone around my neck for so long, anytime I’d start to enjoy or work on something I’d think “but shouldn’t I be writing my dissertation?”
And now it’s over. “Splitting Aztlán: American Resistance and Chicana Visions of a Radical Utopia” is in a queue to have her formatting checked over by my university’s editors. Soon she will be on ProQuest, searchable by anyone who cares to look. My days as a student are, at last, numbered.
Ironically, now that my dissertation is turned in, I can’t leave her alone. I’ve made a dozen minute corrections, found typos, glaring errors, whatever. I keep uploading new versions.
Paul tells me that down this path lies madness, something I already know something about. But she calls to me, wanting me to read, re-read and edit. The document is so far from perfect I can hardly stand it.
Must leave it alone. It’s done.
Besides, I’ve got a talk for NACCS to get ready.… Read the rest