Migration, Representation, and the Struggle for Justice in Latin(o) America
214 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.60 in
Sales Date: October 15, 2015
Applying a broad geographical approach to comparative Latino literary and cultural studies, Continental Shifts illuminates how the discursive treatment of Latinos changed dramatically following the enactment of NAFTA—a shift exacerbated by 9/11. While previous studies of immigrant representation have focused on single regions (the US/Mexico border in particular), specific genres (literature vs. political rhetoric), or individual groups, Continental Shifts unites these disparate discussions in a provocative, in-depth examination.
Bringing together a wide range of groups and genres, this intercultural study explores novels by Latin American and Latino writers, a border film by Tommy Lee Jones and Guillermo Arriaga, “viral” videos of political speeches, popular television programming (particularly shows that feature incarceration and public shaming), and user-generated YouTube videos. These cultural products reveal the complexity of Latino representations in contemporary discourse. While tropes of Latino migrants as threatening, diseased foreign bodies date back to the nineteenth century, Continental Shifts marks the more pernicious, recent images of Latino laborers (legal and not) in a variety of contemporary media. Using vivid examples, John Riofrio demonstrates the connections between rhetorical and ideological violence and the physical and psychological violence that has more intensely plagued Latino communities in recent decades. Culminating with a consideration of the “American” identity, this eye-opening work ultimately probes the nation’s ongoing struggle to uphold democratic ideals amid dehumanizing multiethnic tension.
"Exceptionally readable and teachable, with a breadth of examples. Few books in this niche have been published in Latino studies, and this contribution should be highly welcome."~Michael Hames-Garcia, Professor of Ethnic Studies, University of Oregon and author of Identity Complex: Making the Case for Multiplicity
"A compelling framework that will impact how we think about hemispheric Latino studies in the years to come."~David J. Vázquez, Associate Professor of English, University of Oregon and author of Triangulations: Narrative Strategies for Navigating Latino Identity
"Riofrio engages wide swaths of popular culture and literary criticism, using them as a prism for understanding contemporary historical events and public policy."~Choice
"...critically ambitious, highly readable, and furiously passionate. The book indeed provides an exciting contribution to Inter-American studies, Latino Studies, literary and cultural studies, but truly triumphs in the way it models ethically grounded and publicly directed scholarly work."~Symploke
"Both ambitious and comprehensive in scope, this book sheds new light on the discursive racism found in twenty-first-century media forms that has prepared the way for recent anti-immigrant movements…Continental Shifts presents a timely critique of the post-9/11 criminalization of Latinx people. It is a compelling study of how discursive racism and challenging racism affects the experience of being Latinx in the US, as well as Latin American perceptions of that experience."~Journal of American Studies
- 1. Hemispheric Latinidades: Migrating Bodies and the Blurred Borders of Latino Identities
- 2. Dirty Politics of Representation: Dehumanizing Discourse, Latinidad, and the Struggle for Self-Ascribed Ethnic Identity
- 3. Spectacles of Incarceration: Biopolitics, Public Shaming, and the Pornography of Prisons
- 4. Latinos in a Post-9/11 Moment: “American” Identity and the Public Latino Body
- Works Cited