December 8, 2003
Latin American and Latino studies professor is
author of new book on Mexico-U.S. borderlands
Rosa Linda Fregoso, professor and chair of the Latin American and Latino
Studies Department, is author of the new book meXicana
Encounters (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003),
an examination of the role of culture in the formation of social identities
on the borderlands between Mexico and the United States.
offers new insights into the ways racial and gender differences are
inscribed in cultural practices, and her writing blends cultural history,
testimonial, memory, autobiography, film criticism, critical race studies,
and transnational feminist theory.
The capital "x" in the title has "multiple significations,"
said Fregoso, including emphasizing the pronounciation of "Xicana,"
which is the spelling of "Chicana" in Nahuatl, the language
spoken in south-central Mexico and the administrative language of the
Aztec empire. It is also meant to evoke the notions of crossroads and
The book includes chapters on state terrorism in Mexico, an analysis
of the film Paulinas role in breaking the silences around
private, domestic forms of violence, and a discussion of the portrayal
of the Chicana as "other" in the John Sayless film Lone
Star. Chapters Four and Five focus on "la familia," including
the relationship among Chicano nationalism, the ideology of "la
familia," and Chicana feminist discourse. Three chapters are devoted
to film, including discussions of Lupe Vélez, a star who disrupted
conventional notions of femininity in Hollywood and Mexico, and the
representation of Mexicanas in silent cinema. Fregoso concludes by resurrecting
the cinematic memories of her maternal grandmother to showcase the influence
of early movies on the life of Texas-Mexicans in South Texas, and to
recover a history of movie exhibition and spectatorship that has since
disappeared from official memory.
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