Patrolling Borders: Hybrids, Hierarchies and the Challenge of Mestizaje

Posted in Articles, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-01-23 19:32Z by Steven

Patrolling Borders: Hybrids, Hierarchies and the Challenge of Mestizaje

Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 57, No. 4
pages 597-607
DOI: 10.1177/106591290405700408

Cristina Beltran, Associate Professor of Political Science
Haverford College

Hybridity” has become a popular concept among scholars of critical race theory and identity, particularly those studying Chicano identity. Some scholars claim that hybridity—premised on multiplicity and fluidity—represents a new approach to subjectivity, challenging the idea of a stable and unified subject. In “Patrolling Borders,” I argue that scholars are mistaken in their belief that “hybrid” or “bordered” identities are inherently transgressive or antiessentialist. By constructing a genealogy of Chicano hybridity (i.e., mestizaje) I show how Chicano nationalists produced a politicized subjectivity during the Chicano Movement that emerged as the basis for recent notions of hybridity put forward by writers like Gloria Anzaldúa. By tracing the historical construction of mestizaje, I show how hybridity continues to be a discursive practice capable of comfortably coexisting with dreams of privileged knowledge, order, and wholeness.

Read or purchase the article here.

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Mestizaje: Critical Uses of Race in Chicano Culture

Posted in Books, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Monographs, United States on 2009-11-05 01:43Z by Steven

Mestizaje: Critical Uses of Race in Chicano Culture

University of Minnesota Press
272 pages
15 halftones; 5 7⁄8 x 9
Paper ISBN: 0-8166-4595-7
Paper ISBN-13: 978-0-8166-4595-4
Cloth ISBN: 0-8166-4594-9
Cloth ISBN-13: 978-0-8166-4594-7

Rafael Pérez-Torres, Professor and Chair of English
University of California, Los Angeles

A major reassessment of how mixed-race identity affects Chicano culture and politics.

Focusing on the often unrecognized role race plays in expressions of Chicano culture, Mestizaje is a provocative exploration of the volatility and mutability of racial identities. In this important moment in Chicano studies, Rafael Pérez-Torres reveals how the concepts and realities of race, historical memory, the body, and community have both constrained and opened possibilities for forging new and potentially liberating multiracial identities.

Informed by a broad-ranging theoretical investigation of identity politics and race and incorporating feminist and queer critiques, Pérez-Torres skillfully analyzes Chicano cultural production. Contextualizing the history of mestizaje, he shows how the concept of mixed race has been used to engage issues of hybridity and voice and examines the dynamics that make mestizo and mestiza identities resistant to, as well as affirmative of, dominant forms of power. He also addresses the role that mestizaje has played in expressive culture, including the hip-hop music of Cypress Hill and the vibrancy of Chicano poster art. Turning to issues of mestizaje in literary creation, Pérez-Torres offers critical readings of the works of Emma Pérez, Gil Cuadros [1962-1996], and Sandra Cisneros, among others. This book concludes with a consideration of the role that the mestizo body plays as a site of elusive or displaced knowledge.

Moving beyond the oppositions—nationalism versus assimilation, men versus women, Texans versus Californians—that have characterized much of Chicano studies, Mestizaje synthesizes and assesses twenty-five years of pathbreaking thinking to make a case for the core components, sensibilities, and concerns of the discipline.

Table of Contents


PART I. Creating Mestizaje
1. The Critical Mixture of Race
2. The Mestizo Voice

PART II. Fashioning Mestizaje
3. Popular Music and Postmodern Mestizaje
4. Land and Race in Chicano Public Art

PART III. Challenging Mestizaje
5. The Transgressive Body and Sexual Mestizaje
6. Narrative and Loss

Works Cited

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