"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Books in November: Chicano, Mexican, South American, Cuban, and Latino Titles and Topics


I cannot believe November is almost at an end. We've have many books to tell you about before the month ends, so let's get on our way.

Chican(a) Titles

The Daring Flight of My Pen: Cultural Politics and Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610
Hardcover University of New Mexico Press (November 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0826349706
Genaro M. Padilla (Author)

Doomed from the beginning to be read as history rather than poetry, Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico chronicles Captain Juan de Onate's conquest of New Mexico from its inception in 1595 to the battle of Acoma in 1599. Its publication in 1610 was overshadowed by Cervantes's already wildly popular Don Quixote, and fewer than a dozen copies of the original have survived the last four centuries. In April of 1610, the same month that Villagrá's Historia was published in Spain, the once powerful Onate, the last conquistador and one who remains a divisive figure among native groups and Hispanics to this day, rode into Mexico City, humiliated, having been banished from la Nueva Mexico.

In this engaging study Genaro Padilla enters into Villagra's epic poem of the Onate expedition to reveal that the soldier was no mere chronicler but that his writing offers a subtle critique of the empire whose expansion he seems to be celebrating. A close reading of the rhetorical subtleties in the poem, Padilla argues, reveals that Villagra surreptitiously parodies the King and Viceroy for their failures of vision and effectively dismantles Onate as the iconic figure he has become today. Padilla's study is not simply a close reading of this challenging work; it is also a lucid critique of our modern engagement with foundational documents, cultural celebrations, and our awareness of our relationship with New Mexico's complicated multicultural legacies.

Irresistible Forces: Latin American Migration to the United States and its Effects on the South
University of New Mexico Press November 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 0826349188
Gregory B. Weeks and John R. Weeks, authors

The politics, social issues, and cultural impacts of Latin American migration to the United States are often studied by historians and political scientists, but the regional focus is typically on the Southwest and California. This study examines the phenomenon of the impact of Latin American migration on the southeastern United States, a region that now has the nation's fastest growing immigrant population.

Incorporating a political demography approach, this study seeks to provide a clear understanding of the complex dynamics of migration with particular emphasis on the unique demographic fit between the United States and Latin America. 

This fit arises from one region needing young workers while the other has more than its economy can absorb. Although a relatively simple concept, it is one that has largely been ignored in the political discussions of migration policy. This study argues that the social and political ramifications of and policy responses to Latin American immigration can best be understood when viewed in light of these circumstances. 

La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City
Paperback University of Arizona Press October 6, 2010 ISBN-10: 0816528888
Lydia R. Otero

On March 1, 1966, the voters of Tucson approved the Pueblo Center Redevelopment Project--Arizona's first major urban renewal project--which targeted the most densely populated eighty acres in the state. For close to one hundred years, tucsonenses had created their own spatial reality in the historical, predominantly Mexican American heart of the city, an area most called "la calle." 

Here, amid small retail and service shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, they openly lived and celebrated their culture. To make way for the Pueblo Center's new buildings, city officials proceeded to displace la calle's residents and to demolish their ethnically diverse neighborhoods, which, contends Lydia Otero, challenged the spatial and cultural assumptions of postwar modernity, suburbia, and urban planning.

Otero examines conflicting claims to urban space, place, and history as advanced by two opposing historic preservationist groups: the La Placita Committee and the Tucson Heritage Foundation. She gives voice to those who lived in, experienced, or remembered this contested area, and analyzes the historical narratives promoted by Anglo American elites in the service of tourism and cultural dominance.

La Calle explores the forces behind the mass displacement: an unrelenting desire for order, a local economy increasingly dependent on tourism, and the pivotal power of federal housing policies. To understand how urban renewal resulted in the spatial reconfiguration of downtown Tucson, Otero draws on scholarship from a wide range of disciplines: Chicana/o, ethnic, and cultural studies; urban history, sociology, and anthropology; city planning; and cultural and feminist geography. 

Good Bandits, Warrior Women, and Revolutionaries in Hispanic Culture 
Paperback Bilingual Press/Editorial Biling-Ue November 2010
ISBN-10: 1931010714
Gary Francisco Keller (Editor)

Description is unavailable and this book may still be forthcoming.

Second Communion 
Bilingual Review Press 
ISBN 978-1-931010-56-6 
May 2010
Nash Candelaria

Note: Bilingual Review Press website says that the paper back edition of this book will be out this month, so we are running this book description again.
This memoir by renowned Chicano writer Nash Candelaria focuses on how and why he chose to become a writer. As he investigates his family's more than 300-year history in New Mexico, the author undertakes a more intimate journey that leads him to understand truths about himself: why he chose to become a writer and why he chose the topics he did. Part family history and part selfexamination, Second Communion is a must-read for aspiring writers, those interested in Southwest history, and students and teachers of Chicano literature.

Mexican Topics
Mexico's Indigenous Communities: Their Lands and Histories, 1500-2010
(Mesoamerican Worlds: from the Olmecs to the Danzantes Series)
Hardcover University Press of Colorado November 15, 2010
ISBN-10: 1607320169
Ethelia Ruiz Medrano 

A rich and detailed account of indigenous history in central and southern Mexico from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries, "Mexico's Indigenous Communities" is an expansive work that destroys the notion that Indians were victims of forces beyond their control and today have little connection with their ancient past. Indian communities continue to remember and tell their own local histories, recovering and rewriting versions of their past in light of their lived present.

Ethelia Ruiz Medrano focuses on a series of individual cases, falling within successive historical epochs, that illustrates how the practice of drawing up and preserving historical documents - in particular, maps, oral accounts, and painted manuscripts - has been a determining factor in the history of Mexico's Indian communities for a variety of purposes, including the significant issue of land and its rightful ownership. Since the sixteenth century, numerous Indian pueblos have presented colonial and national courts with historical evidence that defends their landholdings.

Because of its sweeping scope, groundbreaking research, and the author's intimate knowledge of specific communities, "Mexico's Indigenous Communities" is a unique and exceptional contribution to Mexican history. It will appeal to students and specialists of history, indigenous studies, ethnohistory, and anthropology of Latin America and Mexico.

Mesoamerica Topics
The Jaguar and the Priest: An Ethnography of Tzeltal Souls
(Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)
Hardcover University of Texas Press November 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0292723318
Pedro Pitarch (Author), Roy Wagner (Foreword)

In contrast to western notions of the soul as the essence or most native part of a human being, the Tzeltal-speaking Indians of Chiapas, Mexico, regard the soul first and foremost as an Other. Made up of beings that personify the antithesis of their native selves--animals such as hummingbirds or jaguars, atmospheric phenomena like lightning bolts or rainbows, or spirits of European appearance such as Catholic priests or evangelical musicians – Tzeltal souls represent the maximum expression of that which is alien. And because their souls enfold that which is outside and Other, the Tzeltal contain within themselves the history of their relationship with Europeans from the beginning of the Spanish conquest to the present time. 

Thus, to understand the Indian self opens a window into the Tzeltal conception of culture and community, their notions of identity and "alterity," and their interpretation of inter-ethnic relations and types of historical memory.

In this path finding ethnography, which was originally published in Spanish in 1996 as Ch'ulel: una etnografía de las almas tzeltales and is now extensively rewritten and amplified in English, Pedro Pitarch offers a new understanding of indigenous concepts of the soul, "personhood," and historical memory in highland Chiapas. Exploring numerous aspects of indigenous culture and history -- medicine and shamanism, geography and cosmology, and politics and kinship among them -- he engages in a radical rethinking of classic issues in Mesoamerican anthropology, such as ethnicity and "alterity," community and tradition, and change and permanence.

South American Titles

Paulo Freire and the Cold War Politics of Literacy
Hardcover The University of North Carolina Press September 16, 2010
ISBN-10: 080783419X 
Andrew J. Kirkendall 

In the twentieth century, illiteracy and its elimination were political issues important enough to figure in the fall of governments (as in Brazil in 1964), the building of nations (in newly independent African countries in the 1970s), and the construction of a revolutionary order (Nicaragua in 1980). This political biography of Paulo Freire (1921-97), who played a crucial role in shaping international literacy education, also presents a thoughtful examination of the volatile politics of literacy during the Cold War.

A native of Brazil's impoverished northeast, Freire developed adult literacy training techniques that involved consciousness-raising, encouraging peasants and newly urban peoples to see themselves as active citizens who could transform their own lives. Freire's work for state and national government agencies in Brazil in the early 1960s eventually aroused the suspicion of the Brazilian military, as well as of U.S. government aid programs. Political pressures led to Freire's brief imprisonment, following the military coup of 1964, and then to more than a decade and a half in exile. During this period, Freire continued his work in Chile, Nicaragua, and postindependence African countries, as well as in Geneva with the World Council of Churches and in the United States at Harvard University.

Andrew J. Kirkendall's evenhanded appraisal of Freire's pioneering life and work, which remains influential today, gives new perspectives on the history of the Cold War, the meanings of radicalism, and the evolution of the Left in Latin America.

The Argentine Folklore Movement: Sugar Elites, Criollo Workers, and the Politics of Cultural Nationalism, 1900-1950
Hardcover University of Arizona Press August 31, 2010
ISBN-10: 0816528470
Oscar Chamosa

Oscar Chamosa (Author) brings forth the compelling story of an important but often overlooked component of the formation of popular nationalism in Latin America: the development of the Argentine folklore movement in the first part of the twentieth century. This movement involved academicians studying the culture of small farmers and herders of mixed indigenous and Spanish descent in the distant valleys of the Argentine northwest, as well as artists and musicians who took on the role of reinterpreting these local cultures for urban audiences of mostly European descent.

Oscar Chamosa combines intellectual history with ethnographic and sociocultural analysis to reconstruct the process by which mestizo culture -- in Argentina called criollo culture--came to occupy the center of national folklore in a country that portrayed itself as the only white nation in South America. The author finds that the conservative plantation owners -- the "sugar elites"--who exploited the criollo peasants sponsored the folklore movement that romanticized them as the archetypes of nationhood. 

Ironically, many of the composers and folk singers who participated in the landowner-sponsored movement adhered to revolutionary and reformist ideologies and denounced the exploitation to which those criollo peasants were subjected. Chamosa argues that, rather than debilitating the movement, these opposing and contradictory ideologies permitted its triumph and explain, in part, the enduring romanticizing of rural life and criollo culture, essential components of Argentine nationalism.

The book not only reveals the political motivations of culture in Argentina and Latin America but also has implications for understanding the articulation of local culture with national politics and entertainment markets that characterizes contemporary cultural processes worldwide today.

Cuban Titles

Enrique Martinez Celaya: Collected Writings and Interviews, 1990-2010
Paperback University of Nebraska Press November 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0803234740
Enrique Martinez Celaya (Author), Klaus Ottmann (Introduction)

This collection, spanning two decades of artistic activity, features selections of writings tracing the intellectual influences and development of one of the more formidable and productive minds in the contemporary art world. The writings of Enrique Martínez Celaya comprise public lectures; essays; interviews; correspondence with artists, critics, and scholars; artist statements; blog posts; and journal entries.

This selection of writings includes the six public lectures Martínez Celaya delivered during his three-year appointment as the second Visiting Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska. Marked by an encyclopedic curiosity and considerable knowledge about the world, these lectures explore the nature of photography and painting, the role of the artist as prophet, the relationship of art to the university and the museum, as well as reflections on his own work.

Enrique Martínez Celaya: Collected Writings and Interviews, 1990–2010 features seventy-nine photographs from Martínez Celaya’s collection; an introduction by Klaus Ottmann, who teaches art history at the School of Visual Arts in New York and is the Robert Lehman Curator for The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York; and a foreword by James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska.

Born in Cuba in 1964, Enrique Martínez Celaya is the founder of Whale & Star in Miami, Florida. He was Visiting Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska from 2007 to 2010 and is the author of numerous books, including Martínez Celaya: Early Work, Nomad, and The Blog: Bad Time for Poetry.

One Hundred Bottles
Paperback University of Texas Press November 15, 2010
ISBN-10: 0292723326
Ena Lucía Portela (Author), Achy Obejas (Translator)

One Hundred Bottles, with its intersecting characters and unresolved whodunits, can be read as a murder mystery. But it's really a survivor's story. In a voice that blends gossip, storytelling, and literature, Z – the vivacious heroine of Portela's award-winning novel – relates her rum-soaked encounters with the lesbian underground, the characters carving up her home, and the terrifying-but-irresistible Moisés. As entertaining as any detective drama, One Hundred Bottles is ultimately made real by very rough love, intense friendship, and something small that decides to live. 


The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform
Hardcover NYU Press November 15, 2010
ISBN-10: 0814748430
Catherine Kim (Author), Daniel Losen (Author), Damon Hewitt (Author)

The “school-to-prison pipeline” is an emerging trend that pushes large numbers of at-risk youth — particularly children of color — out of classrooms and into the juvenile justice system. The policies and practices that contribute to this trend can be seen as a pipeline with many entry points, from under-resourced K-12 public schools, to the over-use of zero-tolerance suspensions and expulsions and to the explosion of policing and arrests in public schools. The confluence of these practices threatens to prepare an entire generation of children for a future of incarceration.

In this comprehensive study of the relationship between American law and the school-to-prison pipeline, co-authors Catherine Y. Kim, Daniel J. Losen, and Damon T. Hewitt — all civil rights attorneys specializing in juvenile justice — analyze the current state of the law for each entry point on the pipeline and propose legal theories and remedies to challenge them. 

Using specific state-based examples and case studies, the authors assert that law can be an effective weapon in the struggle to reduce the number of children caught in the pipeline, address the devastating consequences of the pipeline on families and communities, and ensure that our public schools and juvenile justice system further the goals for which they were created: to provide meaningful, safe opportunities for all the nation's children.

Dangerous or Endangered?: Race and the Politics of Youth in Urban America
Paperback NYU Press November 17, 2010
ISBN-10: 0814783120
Jennifer Tilton

How do you tell the difference between a “good kid” and a “potential thug”? In Dangerous or Endangered?, Jennifer Tilton considers the ways in which children are increasingly viewed as dangerous and yet, simultaneously, as endangered and in need of protection by the state.
Tilton draws on three years of ethnographic research in Oakland, California, one of the nation's most racially diverse cities, to examine how debates over the nature and needs of young people have fundamentally reshaped politics, transforming ideas of citizenship and the state in contemporary America.

As parents and neighborhood activists have worked to save and discipline young people, they have often inadvertently reinforced privatized models of childhood and urban space, clearing the streets of children, who are encouraged to stay at home or in supervised after-school programs. Youth activists protest these attempts, demanding a right to the city and expanded rights of citizenship. Dangerous or Endangered? pays careful attention to the intricate connections between fears of other people's kids and fears for our own kids in order to explore the complex racial, class, and gender divides in contemporary American cities. 

The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas
(Oxford Handbooks) Hardcover
Oxford University Press, USA October 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0199227993
Robert L. Paquette (Author), Mark M. Smith (Author)

The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas offers penetrating, original, and authoritative essays on the history and historiography of the institution of slavery in the New World. With essays on colonial and antebellum America, Brazil, the Caribbean, the Indies, and South America, the Handbook has impressive geographic and temporal coverage. It also includes a generous range of thematic essays on comparative slavery, the economics of slavery, historical methodology in the field, slavery and the law, for instance.

While obviously indebted to the foundational works of the 1960s and 1970s, current writing on the history of slavery and forms of unfree labor in the Americas has taken decidedly original, new, often ingenious turns.

A younger generation of scholars has shown a healthy respect for that tradition while posing new, often interdisciplinary, and theoretically informed questions, considering, for example, the nature and definition of slave resistance in the Americas, evolving meanings of gender and race under slavery, the complicated nature of class formation in unfree societies, the elaboration of proslavery and antislavery ideologies, the origins and subsequent elaboration of race-based slavery, and mechanisms of emancipation.

Written by an international team including some of the field's most eminent historians and the most innovative younger scholars working today, The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas seeks to explain the enduring importance of the earlier historiography, identify current trends and developments, and offer suggestive but informed commentary on future developments in the field for a global scholarly audience.

Latino Titles

Sleep in Me
University of Nebraska Press September 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0803225350

Against the backdrop of his teenage sister’s car accident — in which a dump truck filled with sand slammed into the small car carrying her and her friends — Jon Pineda chronicles his sister Rica’s sudden transformation from a vibrant high school cheerleader to a girl wheelchair bound and unable to talk. For the next five years of her life, her only ability to communicate was through her rudimentary use of sign language. Lyrical in its approach and unflinching in its honesty, Sleep in Me is a heartrending memoir of the coming-of-age of a boy haunted by a family tragedy.

A prize-winning poet’s account of the irreparable damage and the new understanding that tragedy brings to his Filipino American family, Pineda’s book is a remarkable story maneuvering between childhood memories of his sister cheerleading and moments of monitoring her in a coma and changing her adult diapers. Pineda adeptly navigates between these moments of idyllic youth and heartbreaking sadness. Vivid and lyrical, his story is an exploration of what it means to live deeply with tragedy and of the impact such a story can have on a boy’s journey to manhood.

Jon Pineda teaches in the MFA creative writing program at Queens University of Charlotte and is the author of two books of poetry, The Translator’s Diary and Birthmark.

torch song tango choir
University of Arizona Press (August 16, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0816528640 
Julie Sophia Paegle

These fine poems are connected by--and evoke--the music of lost homelands. Paegle, the daughter of immigrants from Argentina and Latvia, takes us through the tumult of displacement and migration with a strong sense for the folk songs and tango music of her youth. Against this musical backdrop, she invests the bandoneón, an accordion-like instrument brought to Argentina in the late nineteenth century, with a special significance. Her poetic account of the instrument yields this striking tribute, which testifies to the passion of the collection: "when mission music spilled, / five octaves went new-world wild."

The poems in the first section, torch songs, hover near a heartbreaking lyricism as they reckon with political histories, landscapes, and loss. As she writes in this section, there is truly "nothing in this life like being blind in Granada." The sonnet crown that comprises the next section, tango liso, plots a history of cultural inheritance and renewal, weaving back and forth in time and spanning Argentina, Spain, and the United States. Here the reader encounters Eva Peron alongside Katharine of Aragon and Billie Holiday. The final section, choir, commemorates sites of pilgrimage in Latvia, West Germany, and Spain, among other places. In this extended contemplation of cathedral spaces, Paegle interrogates the boundary between the sacred and the secular, silence and song. What emerges from this diverse collection is a sensual and allusive space where music and memory coincide.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: