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Title:Sacred sites: the social-spiritual and feminist practice of contemporary Latina/o narrative
Author(s):Lozano, Jennifer Marie
Director of Research:Rodriguez, Richard T.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rodriguez, Richard T.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Somerville, Siobhan; Koshy, Susan; Cacho, Lisa
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Cultural studies
Women of color feminism
Literary culture
Abstract:“Sacred Sites: The Social-Spiritual and Feminist Practice of Contemporary Latina/o Narrative” identifies and reads an archive of established and emerging genres of Latina/o narrative—Chicano/a movement and women of color feminist print culture, “multicultural” women’s writing, young adult and science fiction narrative, and “world literature”—to show that the interplay among writing, representational politics, and spirituality can form a contested nexus for revaluing Latina/o cultural production and mapping Latino/a experience and identity in the context of global capitalism. By reading these texts in the context of their material and social conditions of possibility, especially within the university and literary establishment, I argue that the texts deliberately blur the boundary between symbolic/spiritual dimensions of cultural production and the physical/material politics of culture. I refer to this often gendered writing, interpretive, and political practice as “social-spirituality” and contend that it extends the political and artistic tradition of women of color feminism into the 21st century. As I show, this textual practice maps queer networks of affiliation and possibility beyond the more traditionally legible analytics of race, ethnicity, kinship, nation, and gender. As a result, social-spirituality also displaces neoliberal narrative tropes of authenticity, individualism, rationality, and transactional interpretive value. “Sacred Sites” also works to develop a social-spiritual method of reading to recover the often-obscured spiritual labor of writing and storytelling and its connection to cultural production, circulation, and reception off the page. Teasing out these connections, the project shows the way that even mainstream and well-circulated narrative works can generate material and imaginative networks that recalibrate Latino/a identity and culture though the very act of and approach to cultural production. Despite neoliberalism’s very real investment in Latina/o cultural work, this dissertation aims to show that attention to spirituality in contemporary Latina/o narrative can reveal and instigate different narrative strategies and identities that challenge the uneven distribution of power and imaginative possibilities of the neoliberal project.
Issue Date:2017-06-28
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Jennifer Lozano
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

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