Latina Lives in Milwaukee
Theresa Delgadillo University of Illinois Press, 2015 Library of Congress F589.M69M5 2015 | Dewey Decimal 305.48868730922
Milwaukee's small but vibrant Mexican and Mexican American community of the 1920s grew over succeeding decades to incorporate Mexican, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, and Caribbean migration to the city. Drawing on years of interviews and collaboration with interviewees, Theresa Delgadillo offers a set of narratives that explore the fascinating family, community, work, and career experiences of Milwaukee's Latinas during this time of transformation. Through the stories of these women, Delgadillo caringly provides access to a wide variety of Latina experiences: early Mexican settlers entering careers as secretaries and entrepreneurs; Salvadoran and Puerto Rican women who sought educational opportunity in the U.S., sometimes in flight from political conflicts; Mexican women becoming leather workers and drill press operators; and second-generation Latinas entering the professional classes. These women show how members of diverse generations, ethnicities, and occupations embraced interethnic collaboration and coalition but also negotiated ethnic and racial discrimination, domestic violence, workplace hostilities, and family separations. A one-of-a-kind collection, Latina Lives in Milwaukee sheds light on the journeys undertaken then and now by Latinas in the region, and lays the foundation for the further study of the Latina experience in the Midwest. With contributions from Ramona Arsiniega, María Monreal Cameron, Daisy Cubías, Elvira Sandoval Denk, Rosemary Sandoval Le Moine, Antonia Morales, Carmen Murguia, Gloria Sandoval Rozman, Margarita Sandoval Skare, Olga Valcourt Schwartz, and Olivia Villarreal.
Gloria Anzaldúa’s narrative and theoretical innovations, particularly her concept of mestiza consciousness, have influenced critical thinking about colonialism, gender, history, language, religion, sexuality, spirituality, and subjectivity. Yet Anzaldúa’s theory of spiritual mestizaje has not been extensively studied until now. Taking up that task, Theresa Delgadillo reveals spiritual mestizaje as central to the queer feminist Chicana theorist’s life and thought, and as a critical framework for interpreting contemporary Chicana literary and visual narratives. First mentioned by Anzaldúa in her pioneering book Borderlands/La Frontera, spiritual mestizaje is a transformative process of excavating bodily memory to develop a radical, sustained critique of oppression and renew one’s relation to the sacred. Delgadillo analyzes the role of spiritual mestizaje in Anzaldúa’s work and in relation to other forms of spirituality and theories of oppression. Illuminating the ways that contemporary Chicana narratives visualize, imagine, and enact Anzaldúa’s theory and method of spiritual mestizaje, Delgadillo interprets novels, memoir, and documentaries. Her critical reading of literary and visual technologies demonstrates how Chicanas challenge normative categories of gender, sexuality, nation, and race by depicting alternative visions of spirituality.