Tejano South Texas
A Mexican American Cultural Province
288 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Sales Date: April 1, 2002
288 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Winner, John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize, Association of American Geographers
On the plains between the San Antonio River and the Rio Grande lies the heartland of what is perhaps the largest ethnic region in the United States, Tejano South Texas. In this cultural geography, Daniel Arreola charts the many ways in which Texans of Mexican ancestry have established a cultural province in this Texas-Mexico borderland that is unlike any other Mexican American region.
Arreola begins by delineating South Texas as an environmental and cultural region. He then explores who the Tejanos are, where in Mexico they originated, and how and where they settled historically in South Texas. Moving into the present, he examines many factors that make Tejano South Texas distinctive from other Mexican American regions—the physical spaces of ranchos, plazas, barrios, and colonias; the cultural life of the small towns and the cities of San Antonio and Laredo; and the foods, public celebrations, and political attitudes that characterize the region. Arreola's findings thus offer a new appreciation for the great cultural diversity that exists within the Mexican American borderlands.
"Arreola's major contribution...is that he is the first to argue explicitly that this particular delineated region of Texas is a Tejano homeland.... His book will find a readership among geographers, historians, sociologists, anthropologists, and the general reading public."~Andrés Tijerina, author of Tejano Empire: Life on the South Texas Ranchos
"For over twenty years Dan Arreola has been writing imaginatively about ethnic landscapes, Mexican-American geography and the character of Borderland cities. In his latest book, Tejano South Texas, Arreola offers a fascinating look at a small but vital vernacular region within this vast state, exploring what makes its rural and urban features geographically distinctive. He portrays a changing region that has had different personalities at different times. In the best traditions of cultural and historical geography, he uses two approaches—impeccable field work and thorough archival research, and all in two languages. The book treats the land occupied, the spaces created by Texas-Mexicans in town and country, their social identities, and the essence of the region as a cultural province. It draws in findings in anthropology, folklore, sociology, urban design, and architecture but makes them serve geographical ends. It employs diverse sources in innovative fashion—local terminology, phone books, menus, even the author’s outstanding personal collection of borderlands postcards—to tell an intimate and engaging story of people and landscape. And above all the book is highly readable. Written in an approachable style that will appeal to scholars, business owners, farmers, ranchers and anyone with curiosity, Tejano South Texas represents the very kind of geographical writing that the late J. B. Jackson so encouraged and applauded."~Association of American Geographers
- Chapter 1. Borderland Culture Region
- Chapter 2. Land beyond the Nueces
- Chapter 3. Territory Shaped
- Chapter 4. Homeland Forged
- Chapter 5. Texas Mexican Spaces
- Chapter 6. Texas Mexican Small Towns
- Chapter 7. Texas Mexican Cities
- Chapter 8. Texas Mexican Social Identities
- Chapter 9. Tejano Cultural Province
- Figure Sources
The publication of Tejano South Texas was made possible by the support of the Jack and Doris Smothers Endowment in Texas History, Life, and Culture.