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Identity of Absence: Chicanos & The US Southwest’s Identities Revisited
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science, Technology and Environment. (GIECO)
2013 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Both Chicanos and the US Southwest’s identities are often constructed in a discourse of absence. Their identities, being idealized and/or manipulated (therefore altered) along history by the ‘newcomers’ (mainly Anglo-American settlers), become themselves the justification for domination and discrimination in the eyes of the dominant culture.

Chicanos identity conflicts have been extensively analyzed, but there is still much to explore in relation to the connection between these conflicts and the subjugation of the Southwestern environment. Both are often defined by others (and even by the own Chicanos) in the same way, that is in terms of absence rather than of presence, as the indians in Gerald Vizenor’s Fugitive Poses. This perpetuates their historical invisibility, and disregards the pressing social, cultural and environmental concerns. On the other hand, Laura Pulido writes about the dangers of turning to “strategic essentialism” (a form of this ‘identity of absence’), to defend Chicanos’ claims: arguing cultural homogeneity and an innate special connection to the land overlooks the diversity and conscious environmental ethic of many present-day Hispano Southwesterners.

There is a need, therefore, to define (or reclaim existing definitions of) both Chicanos and the Southwest in positive, realistic ways. Literature has been used as a cultural weapon since the beginnings of the Chicano movement in the 60s; as such, it serves as a means of criticism as the writings by and about Chicanos show. Through an ecocritical analysis all these mechanisms will be exposed and analyzed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Chicanos, US Southwest, Ecocriticism, Environmental Justice, Writer Activism
National Category
Specific Literatures
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-155059OAI: diva2:759475
ASLE-UKI Biennial Conference Ecological Encounters: Agency,Identity, Interactions, held at the University of Surrey, England, August 29-31, 2013.

QC 20150205

Available from: 2014-10-30 Created: 2014-10-30 Last updated: 2015-02-05Bibliographically approved

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Perez-Ramos, Isabel
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