Domestic Negotiations: Gender, Nation, and Self-fashioning in US Mexicana and Chicana Literature and Art
This interdisciplinary study explores how US Mexicana and Chicana authors and artists across different historical periods and regions use domestic space to actively claim their own histories. Through “negotiation”—a concept that accounts for artistic practices outside the duality of resistance/accommodation—and “self-fashioning,” Marci R. McMahon demonstrates how the very sites of domesticity are used to engage the many political and recurring debates about race, gender, and immigration affecting Mexicanas and Chicanas from the early twentieth century to today.
Domestic Negotiations covers a range of archival sources and cultural productions, including the self-fashioning of the “chili queens” of San Antonio, Texas, Jovita González's romance novel Caballero, the home economics career and cookbooks of Fabiola Cabeza de Baca, Sandra Cisneros's “purple house controversy” and her acclaimed text The House on Mango Street, Patssi Valdez's self-fashioning and performance of domestic space in Asco and as a solo artist, Diane Rodríguez's performance of domesticity in Hollywood television and direction of domestic roles in theater, and Alma López's digital prints of domestic labor in Los Angeles. With intimate close readings, McMahon shows how Mexicanas and Chicanas shape domestic space to construct identities outside of gendered, racialized, and xenophobic rhetoric.
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