Confessions of a Mexican American Hoarder” or “Prowling the Caucasian Bestiary”: The Existential and Insane Consequences of Collecting Latina/o Artifacts and Stereotypes

William Ner­ic­cio
Eng­lish & Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture, and Chi­cana & Chi­cano Stud­ies San Diego State University

Thurs­day, Feb­ru­ary 28, 2013
4:00 pm
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions 120

What hap­pens to the mind of a rel­a­tively sane Mex­i­can Amer­i­can aca­d­e­mic when doused with the deri­sive laugh­ter of an East Coast under­grad­u­ate stu­dent? What mad­ness ensues once that self-same “scholar” uses his aca­d­e­mic super­pow­ers to cat­a­logue Mex­i­can stereo­types in the United States? Mex­tasy! Stu­dents and fac­ulty are in for a MEXSTATIC mul­ti­me­dia pre­sen­ta­tion exam­in­ing dom­i­nant trends in the 21st cen­tury rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Lati­nas and Lati­nos in Amer­i­can pop­u­lar cul­ture. From Hol­ly­wood to Madi­son Avenue, spe­cific and dam­ag­ing visions of Latina/o sub­jec­tiv­ity have infected the synapses of Amer­i­cans, and Mex­i­cans alike. “Eth­nic man­nequins” (such as William Levy, Eva Lon­go­ria, and Sophia Ver­gara) infect con­scious­ness even as they enter­tain. Nor are they divorced from the talk-radio fueled renais­sance on racial­ized hatred. If Lou Dobbs screams hys­ter­i­cally that Mex­i­cans are “dis­eased” and Rush Lim­baugh encour­ages his lis­ten­ers to tell “Mex­i­cans” to go back to “their coun­try,” what are the effects? Research sug­gests that these col­lec­tive efforts have led to a resur­gence of anti-Latino hate and hate crimes at the very moment that the U.S. becomes more demo­graph­i­cally and decid­edly Latino/a. The pre­sen­ta­tion will fea­ture excerpts from Tex[t]-Mex, Eye­giene, the Tex[t]-Mex Gallery­blog and art from Mextasy.

William Ner­ic­cio is Pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish & Com­par­a­tive Lit­er­a­ture and Chi­cana & Chi­cano Stud­ies, and Direc­tor of the Mas­ter of Arts in Lib­eral Arts and Sci­ences pro­gram at San Diego State Uni­ver­sity. He is the author of Tex[t]-Mex: Seduc­tive Hal­lu­ci­na­tions of “Mex­i­cans” in Amer­ica (2007), and edi­tor of The Hurt Busi­ness (2008), and Homer from Sali­nas: John Steinbeck’s Endur­ing Voice for Cal­i­for­nia (2009). Ner­ic­cio blogs at http://textmex.blogspot.com/.

Pre­sented as part of B/ordering Vio­lence: Bound­aries, Gen­der, Indi­gene­ity in the Amer­i­cas, a John E. Sawyer Sem­i­nar in Com­par­a­tive Cul­tures gen­er­ously funded by the Andrew W. Mel­lon Foun­da­tion and co-sponsored by the Latin Amer­i­can & Caribbean Stud­ies pro­gram, the Jack­son School of Inter­na­tional Stud­ies, the Simp­son Cen­ter for the Human­i­ties, and the Insti­tute for the Study of Eth­nic­ity, Race, & Sex­u­al­ity (WISER).

For more on the B/ordering Vio­lence Sem­i­nar Series, visit www.borderingviolence.com.

 

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About mjj22

Current research project The Multi Dimensions of Blackness: Cultural Hegemony in the US and Abroad I am interested in how the concept of race and identity plays a role in how we perceive difference. Moreover, I would like to investigate how colonial powers such as the United States have shaped ideas of race and identity while maintaining colonial rule abroad. This past summer (2012) I was a participant in the Summer Institute in the Art & Humanities. This opportunity allowed me to explore questions concerning race and representation. Why were my peers studying abroad and returning with the same preconceived notions of developing countries? Why were my college classmates representing people and places in the Global South as underdeveloped, religious radicals, uneducated, disease stricken, and confrontational? These questions have driven my interest in globalization, power, borders, and how a variety of people and institutions located in "the West" represent the Global South.

One thought on “Confessions of a Mexican American Hoarder” or “Prowling the Caucasian Bestiary”: The Existential and Insane Consequences of Collecting Latina/o Artifacts and Stereotypes

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