Monthly Archives: March 2020

Vallejo y yo

I had written this paragraph and thought it was bad, and I later abandoned the paper for lack of time but also lack of hope–based in lack of support or camaraderie, perhaps.

Las fisuras en el sujeto vallejiano, la fragmentación de su corpus poético, las bifurcaciones de su tradición manuscrita, y el enigma de su personalidad son temas entrelazados en muchos estudios. Estos temas son cargados, y no sólo a causa de la pugna de figuras como Georgette o Larrea por definir tanto al autor como el texto, ni por la esperanza de que las llaves de la personalidad del poeta abran paso a una lectura más íntima y certera de la obra. Si se ha querido saber quién era Vallejo o cuál su historia, no es por creer de manera ingenua que la obra refleje al autor y su época sino porque como bien dice Stephen Hart (1998), y el poeta y su obra son enigmáticos por estar impregnados de otredad. ¿De dónde viene esta voz, a la vez tan extranjera y tan de casa? ¿Qué tienen estos textos oblicuos, tan marcados por el desplazamiento, que nos llegan “directamente al corazón”? (Vallejo 1927)

I’m a quick thinker on my feet but a slow/steady researcher and writer. My problems are all about how everyone else wants to work in interval training: push fast for half an hour, then break, then do it again; sweat and strain and suffer and say you hate it but then get a prize, go out and drink/stuff yourself with chocolate/spend. And they say you are immature and lazy if that is not how you work. I HATE PROFESSORS FOR THIS.

I don’t hate them for doing it, but for saying that is how you should do things. They have no joy and no Zen, and they live to condescend to others. I hate them. I really do.

Everything takes time. So many things I dislike doing, I would not mind or even enjoy if not asked to do them in a desperate flurry.


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Some links and things for Santa Gloria

1. Entrevistas.

2. Pérez-Torre’s book that I know already I would find self-satisfied and strange — or maybe not, it’s not terribly informed, even though I would rather read Mónica Díaz’ edited collection on being indio in the colonial period. I should ILL it.

3. There’s an article Cholo Angels in Guadalajara that I would quite like to see. (I will request it though ILL.)

4. This not excellent dissertation from Kentucky.

5. Benjamin Alire Sánchez 1997 – – perhaps I can find this, too.



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The coloniality of power

Here we have a copy of that Mignolo journal issue/book our library does not have. There’s an article by Sanjinés on the nation and it explains why the B. Anderson model does not work. And an article by J.D. Saldívar on Anzaldúa that thinks, as I have claimed to do, that what she does with language is one of the most effective aspects of her project in Borderlands/La Frontera. And there is more. I’d like to be reading the paper book, but this is nice to have.

Decoloniality is thinking from the other side. But not from a romanticized other side. This book thinks about some of the things I do.

The mestizo is a colonial formation and that is why the mixture with the colonizer is the one that counts–and why you get the mestizo-criollo class. Does this mean that the mestizo, ultimately, cannot be subaltern? That the povo, even if also mixed, is not mestizo? Somebody must have worked this out. Who?


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Mestizaje and deculturation

Lomnitz-Adler talks about mestizaje and, or as deculturation. It’s not a place of exuberance but of loss. Is why the mestizaje fans spend so much time on healing?


Original: Decentered discourse? Problematizing the “Borderlands”

Next: Rereading Borderlands: Las márgenes de Gloria Anzaldúa

Then: Transnational Borderlands? Las márgenes de Gloria Anzaldúa

Then: Border trouble? Intersectionality in Gloria Anzaldúa

AND there were various other possibilities in between. “The problem with borders and borderlands: intersectionality in GA;” “Dancing at the threshold: interesectionality in GA;” more.



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Cesítar, el occidental

I should really start using actual note-taking software–I’ve converted this blog into a notetaking site when I have another one for that, and the blogs aren’t the most useful format for actual research notes.

Nonetheless, here is an interesting article on Vallejo, that I will read. It is called Vallejo, Semicolonialism, and Poetemporality.



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Más y más mestizos

From March 2017:

“…mestizo and mestizaje…are doubly hybrid. On the one hand they house an empirical hybridity, built upon eighteenth and nineteenth century racial taxonomies and according to which ‘mestizos’ are non-indigenous individuals, the result of biological or cultural mixtures. Yet, mestizos’ genealogy starts earlier, when ‘mixture’ denoted transgression of the rule of faith, and its statutes of purity. Within this taxonomic regime mestizos could be, at the same time, indigenous. Apparently dominant, racial theories sustained by scientific knowledge mixed with, (rather than cancel) previous faith based racial taxonomies. ‘Mestizo’ thus houses a conceptual hybridity – the mixture of two classificatory regimes – which reveals subordinate alternatives for mestizo subject positions, including forms of indigeneity.”
—de la Cadena 2005

Y sí, and that is what the talk the other day did not address, and it is key for my piece on Isaacs: there is racial and religious mestizaje that stand in for each other. THIS is a good insight, I do think. (About mestizaje itself, the other way in which the word or concept “means in two accents” is that it is deployed in both oppressive and utopian or liberating ways.)

Also: Kraniauskas, hybridity and traces of capital, and that article on comparative hybridities.


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More mestizos and more Cecilia

The inner life of mestizo nationalism (Tarica) is another book to get, probably key. Joshua Lund’s later book is in dialogue with it, too. And look at page 80 of Lund: I’m right, it is a question of articulating nation and state. And: Asturias uses the stylized indígenas to come up with a more inclusive nation, but Castellanos stages that same culture to problematize that politics of inclusion / the mestizo state.

I was rereading Joanna O’Connell’s now old book on Rosario Castellanos and noted the reference to women characters like Dido (in the Aeneid, but also in Castellanos), Judith and Salomé who are threats to the foundation of nation. Daughters’ sexuality is an issue of racial and national loyalties. How does Cecilia fit into this?

I can see a next paper, on Mercier (St. Ybars), Cecilia and Emily Clark, centering on the placée. How Yankee travel writing + [what was the story that came from Haiti?] generates the terms in which Cuba and Louisiana see themselves. These mulatas are transgressive according to Glissant [recheck, it’s in Poétique de la relation] because they upset categories, but is this also something about preventing the foundation of nation?

What about Sab?


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My outline

“Liminality” – p. 6

“Subaltern Representation” – p. 12

“Difference and Wholeness” – p. 19 [here check the Beverley reference]

“Mestizaje” – p. 24

“Beyond Hybridity” – p. 36


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Weak first draft of conclusion (it looks fine here but I don’t think I can include all of this)

That point has been raised before (Castillo/Tabuenca) and responded to by Mariana Ortega. The problem is twofold. One issue, as scholars like Irwin (2001), Castillo and Tabuenca (2002), Saldaña-Portillo (2003), Castillo (2006) and Medina (2008) have noted, is that the borderlands in Anzaldúa’s model are very specifically the United States side of the Mexican border. This can be seen by the references in the text, all on this side including the Mexican ones, insofar as they correspond to those chosen for the imagined territory of Aztlán, also generated from the United States. This, Irwin points out, replicates problems in the U. S. historiography of the area. I would add that the choice of references from south of the border doesn’t make Anzaldúa’s case: they are the references elites use to oppose US, yet whiten. (Castillo: it’s a nation-building concept, not a resistant one; I would add that it replicates effort to be native yet modern, assert self yet negotiate with center, that is the hallmark of so many nation building texts.) Second problem: The borderlands as fuzzy category or vague concept, abstract enough to be applicable to everything. When it’s that, AND it’s also the US, then it’s just universalizing the US – pace Ortega.

Postcolonial criticism privileged the idea of the hybrid because of the hybridity of the colonial subject, and borderlands seemed like a laboratory for this in the postmodern / poststructuralist environment where we also wanted a decentered subject. Now that decentered subject must also be transnational. I think the Anzaldua text is more interesting as an example of a text on borders; when we try to make it into a global model it falls apart.

So: what does it do? 1. Revise who the Chicana can be, getting out of sexism, fighting racism. 2. Women’s liberation in a transnational sense. 3. Revise what the U.S. is. 4. Revise what Spanish is. 5. Speak as colonial subject. Very well: these things are powerful. But the borderlands-as-solution to everything doesn’t actually work—it is what people have liked, but again, it is where the argument falls apart. And the problem isn’t with the text itself as much as it is with what many have wanted it to do, in proposing a global model (global transnational revolutionary subject). The things it does well, it does—as is the case with all the best and most classic literature—because it speaks not from the globe but from a place.

(Things to add in above: on mestizaje as a result of gender oppression – it is key in a feminist text; mestizaje does not have happy feminist origins.) And I should get this Yemoja book, for the chapter on Anzaldúa and in particular, its references. (It’s at LSU as an e-book, and it’s at Tulane.)


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Film on the Spanish Civil War

What would you teach for this? (Side note: McClennen’s Globalization and Latin American Cinema costs hundreds of dollars; if not, I might use it as a textbook for a different film course.)

La lengua de las mariposasRazaDragón rapide/Encontrarás dragonesCría cuervos¡Ay Carmela!Land and freedom – El laberinto del fauno – El espinazo del diablo – Soldados de Salamina – That film about Puig Antich

These and then there are historic ones here, some very important. There are a lot of other lists, and this has some good, old ones (as in, anarchist films from during the war)

  • Balada de la triste trompeta
  • Las bicicletas son para verano (Chávarri)
  • El bosc (Aibar)
  • El mar (Villaronga 2000)
  • Gernika
  • Los girasoles ciegos (Cuerda 2008)
  • Incierta gloria (Villaronga)
  • Libertarias (Aranda 1996)
  • Mientras dure la guerra (KEY)
  • La trinchera infinita (KEY)
  • La vaquilla (García Berlanga)
  • Pa negre (Villaronga 2010)
  • Pájaros de papel (Aragón)
  • La sierra de Teruel (Malraux 1938)
  • Vida en sombras (Llobet-Gràcia 1949


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