“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.

5 thoughts 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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