In the 1980s and as a result of their involvement in the various social movements of the 1970s, Latinas and other women of color began to publish what are now canonical texts in women of color feminism, books such as This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1983) and Loving in the War Years (1983). Yet queer Latino men remained relatively silent. Why was this the case? What were the conditions of possibility that allowed Latinas to consciously and politically engage in the public sphere by publishing their work? We will begin with these questions as we focus our attention on these early writings by queer Latinas. We will then trace the emergence of queer Latinas/os in the public sphere. That is, we will study literature, art, and film that represented queer Latinas/os.
My teaching and research interests are in Latina/o literary and intellectual history, from the colonial period to the 1940s. In a sense, this field and period allow—indeed force—us to rethink the literature of the Americas in a transnational, hemispheric framework. That is, Latina/o literature has usually been described as a twentieth-century phenomenon, emerging for the most part during the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s and 70s. Yet a return to the literary-historical archive reveals a quite different genealogy. Beginning in the late eighteenth century, Spanish Americans—including Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Venezuelans, and Colombians—sought refuge in the U.S. and used the printing press, especially in Philadelphia, Charlottesville, and New Orleans, to foment support for the independence of their Spanish American countries. Likewise, during the first half of the nineteenth century, the printing press arrived across what is today the U.S. Southwest and gave birth to a vibrant and often belligerent print culture. It was through these published texts that ideas associated with modernity were, for the first time, debated and developed in print among Latinas/os, ideas such as representative government, the rights of citizen-subjects, and the power of the press to reconfigure society. By returning to the archive, rethinking the category of literature, genres, and disciplines, and engaging with the theoretical-historical problematic of modernity and colonialism in the Americas, we can begin to imagine alternative historical geographies for a literature of the Americas, one where the seemingly impermeable barrier between U.S. and Latin American literary and intellectual history begins to disintegrate in U.S. Latina/o studies. Instructor Bio
But all these interests developed out of my initial and continuing interest in the history of Latina/o sexuality. Along with my research/teaching interests above, I also have longstanding interests in queer and feminist theory, with a particular focus on how women of color have theorized the queer subject and the emergence of queer Latina/o print culture and publics.
Faculty web site: http://ethnicstudies.berkeley.edu/faculty/profile.php?person=123