Invisibility and Influence
A Literary History of AfroLatinidades
256 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Sales Date: June 4, 2024
A rich literary study of AfroLatinx life writing, this book traces how AfroLatinxs have challenged their erasure in the United States and Latin America over the last century.
Invisibility and Influence demonstrates how a century of AfroLatinx writers in the United States shaped life writing, including memoir, collective autobiography, and other formats, through depictions of a wide range of “Afro-Latinidades.” Using a woman-of-color feminist approach, Regina Marie Mills examines the work of writers and creators often excluded from Latinx literary criticism. She explores the tensions writers experienced in being viewed by others as only either Latinx or Black, rather than as part of their own distinctive communities. Beginning with Arturo (Arthur) Schomburg, who contributed to wider conversations about autobiographical technique, Invisibility and Influenceexamines a breadth of writers, including Jesús Colón; members of the Young Lords; Piri Thomas; Lukumi santera and scholar Marta Moreno Vega; and Black Mexican poet Ariana Brown. Mills traces how these writers confront the distorted visions of AfroLatinxs in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and how they created and expressed AfroLatinx spirituality, politics, and self-identity, often amidst violence. Mapping how AfroLatinx writers create their own literary history, Mills reveals how AfroLatinx life writing shapes and complicates discourses on race and colorism in the Western Hemisphere.
- Introduction: (Life) Writing against Mestizaje
- 1. Arturo Schomburg, Pura Belpré, and the “Racial Integrity” of Auto/biography
- 2. Jesús Colón, the New York Young Lords, and “Observe and Participate” Autobiography
- 3. AfroLatinidad as Creative Destruction: Piri Thomas’s Life Writing as a Theorization of Violence
- 4. Call-and-Response AfroLatinidad: Spirituality, Race, and Gender in Marta Moreno Vega’s and Lourdes Casal’s Life Writing
- 5. Queer AfroLatinidades: Monstrosity and Reclaiming Black Latinx Girlhood in Jaquira Díaz’s Ordinary Girls and Ariana Brown’s Verse Memoirs
- Epilogue: Science, Spirituality, and Changing Notions of Ancestry in AfroLatinx Narratives