2009 — Runner-up, Modern Language Association Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies
Blood Lines: Myth, Indigenism, and Chicana/o Literature examines a broad array of texts that have contributed to the formation of an indigenous strand of Chicano cultural politics. In particular, this book exposes the ethnographic and poetic discourses that shaped the aesthetics and stylistics of Chicano nationalism and Chicana feminism. Contreras offers original perspectives on writers ranging from Alurista and Gloria Anzaldúa to Lorna Dee Cervantes and Alma Luz Villanueva, effectively marking the invocation of a Chicano indigeneity whose foundations and formulations can be linked to U.S. and British modernist writing.
By highlighting intertextualities such as those between Anzaldúa and D. H. Lawrence, Contreras critiques the resilience of primitivism in the Mexican borderlands. She questions established cultural perspectives on "the native," which paradoxically challenge and reaffirm racialized representations of Indians in the Americas. In doing so, Blood Lines brings a new understanding to the contradictory and richly textured literary relationship that links the projects of European modernism and Anglo-American authors, on the one hand, and the imaginary of the post-revolutionary Mexican state and Chicano/a writers, on the other hand.
Sheila Marie Contreras is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University, where she teaches American Studies and Chicano/Latino Studies. She lives in Lansing.
Utterly fascinating and urgently needed. Contreras manages to achieve a sustained, insightful, and comprehensive analysis. This will surely be path-breaking [and] draw attention to a concept that has been heretofore relatively understudied. Her work fills an important lacunae that will unlikely be surpassed for some time.
Introduction: Myths, Indigenisms, and Conquests
Chapter One. Mexican Myth and Modern Primitivism: D. H. Lawrence's The Plumed Serpent
Chapter Two. The Mesoamerican in the Mexican-American Imagination: Chicano Movement Indigenism
Chapter Three. From La Malinche to Coatlicue: Chicana Indigenist Feminism and Mythic Native Women
Chapter Four. The Contra-mythic in Chicana Literature: Refashioning Indigeneity in Acosta, Cervantes, Gaspar de Alba, and Villanueva
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