Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Anthropology

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Arte Público Press, 1994 - History - 374 pages
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This work focuses on the culture of Hispanics, the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. Reference works on Hispanic culture are few, yet this group is exerting an increasingly stronger influence on all aspects of American life. The project grew out of a series of conferences sponsored by the Instituto de Cooperacion Iberoamericana in Madrid between 1983 and 1990. In one seminar on Hispanic communities in the U.S., participants concluded that there was a serious bibliographic gap regarding this culture. The institute decided to produce an encyclopedia that would be written largely by U.S. Hispanics. This four-volume work covering history, literature and art, anthropology, and sociology is the result. Each volume is edited by a distinguished scholar of Hispanic culture and involves the collaboration of scholars on both sides of the Atlantic. Each begins with the same general introduction that discusses the development of Hispanic communities within the U.S. from the arrival of the Spaniards to present-day influences from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Essays are not in alphabetical order, but in a classified arrangement. Volume 1, History, begins with an interpretive essay that criticizes the lack of recognition of the Hispanic influence in the building of the American nation. What follows is a collection of essays on such subjects as "The Spanish Exploration, Conquest and Settlement of New Mexico, 1540-1680," "Spanish Culture of the Golden Age and Eighteenth Century," and histories of Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in the U.S. The volume covering Hispanic literature and art begins with an essay that attempts to foster an appreciation of Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Chicano arts and letters. It goes on to discuss each people's literature by genre, which includes theater, the novel, poetry, and the short story. Other essays discuss women writers, the Hispanic oral tradition, art, music, cinema, and the Spanish-language press. The volume on sociology contains wide-ranging material, from the politics of Cuban emigres to "American-heritage families" to Cuban women in the U.S. Essays discuss religion, education, and feminism. The cultures of Hispanic groups are compared and described, along with such topics as language and culture, fiestas, entertainment, migration, and marriage and kinship. Each section of each volume ends with a bibliography of materials in both English and Spanish. All essays are signed, and the credentials of the authors are provided. Black-and-white photographs (and in the literature and art volume, colorplates) and other illustrations are used throughout. Each volume has an index. Some material is written in a turgid academic style. With better editing, some essays could have been presented in a more interesting fashion for a lay audience.

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Handbook of Hispanic cultures in the United States

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Given the extent of its coverage, this four-volume set is the most important general reference publication on the Hispanic population of the United States to date. Assembled by a team of 65 scholars ... Read full review


General Introduction to the Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States
Crossing National and Creating Cultural Borders
Hispanic Traditional Technology and Material Culture in the United States

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About the author (1994)

Kanellos is the publisher of Arte Publico Press in Houston, Texas.

Thomas Weaver is professor emeritus at the University of Arizona School of Anthropology and founder of TWeaver Writing and Research.

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