by Stephanie Fetta
The Ohio State University Press, 2018
Cloth: 978-0-8142-1385-8 | eISBN: 978-0-8142-7663-1 | Paper: 978-0-8142-5502-5
Library of Congress Classification E184.S75F53 2018
Dewey Decimal Classification 810.9868073

Winner of the 2019 MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies

In Shaming into Brown: Somatic Transactions of Race in Latina/o Literature, Stephanie Fetta asserts that our bodies are fundamental to how we live and how we make meaning. Anchored by two psychoanalytic theories, bioenergetic analysis developed by Alexander Lowen and affect theory put forth by Silvan Tomkins, Fetta examines Latinx fiction to draw attention to the cultural role of the intelligent, emotional, and communicative body—the soma—in relation to shame. She argues that we bring the soma—the physical, emotive, and social register of our subjectivity—to the text as we do to our lives,proposing that the power of racialization operates at the level of somatic expression and reception through habituated, socially cued behaviors that are not readily subject to intentional control.

Fetta examines shame beyond individual experiences, looking at literary renderings of the cultural practice of racial shaming that are deeply embedded into our laws, hiring practices, marketing strategies, and more. Grounding her analysis in the works of Gloria Anzaldúa and Cherríe Moraga, Shaming into Brown focuses on exposing the underpinnings of racialized shame and does so through analyzing “scenes of racialization” in prominent works by authors such as Junot Díaz, Sandra Cisneros, and Oscar Zeta Acosta.