Aztec Nation: History, inscription, and indigenista feminism in Chicana literature and political discourse
AuthorGarcia, Alesia, 1962-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIn the United States in the mid-1960's, Chicano cultural nationalists mobilized a generation by recuperating the history and mythology of the pre-conquest Aztecs as strategies of political resistance. Claiming themselves la Raza de Bronce the Bronze race) in their art, literature, and political discourse, Chicano activists and intellectuals distinguished themselves racially from white America and worked toward reunifying an indigenous culture that had been fragmented by colonization and diaspora. This discursive practice of reinscribing Mexican Indian ancestry is a political act that I refer to as narrating the Aztec Nation. Indigenous movement activists across the Americas have often reclaimed their pre-colonial histories. "Aztec Nation" examines the impact of Chicano cultural nationalist revisions of Mexican indigenismo (politics and aesthetics of the post-1910 indigenous movement) upon race, class, gender, and sexuality in contemporary Chicano and Chicana literature and political discourse. In my analysis of Chicano and Chicana political manifestos, graphic art, poetry, essays, and novels, I trace various Chicano cultural nationalist expressions of indigenista ideology throughout el movimiento (the Chicano movement). In particular, I develop critical approaches for rereading Chicana literature and activist journalism published in Chicano/a movement newspapers and journals between 1969 and 1979 that emphasize Chicana faminist reinventions of indigenismo as a transnational alternative to ideological limitations within the Chicano cultural nationalist and second wave white American feminist movements. I offer a new critical term: "Chicana indigenista feminism," which recognizes a distinct Chicana feminist discourse that is characterized by an ongoing negotiation of mestiza (mixed blood) identity. My investigation begins with analyses of Chicano cultural nationalist literature and political documents from 1964 and ends with a reevaluation of chicana indigenista feminist theories posited as recently as 1994.
Degree ProgramGraduate College