Until recently, mainstream American environmentalism has been a predominantly white, middle-class movement, essentially ignoring the class, race, and gender dimensions of environmental politics. In this provocative collection of original essays, the environmental dimensions of the Chicana/o experience are explicitly expressed and debated.
Employing a variety of genres ranging from poetry to autobiography to theoretical and empirical essays, the voices in this collection speak to the most significant issues of environmentalism and social justice, recognizing throughout the need for a pluralism of Chicana/o philosophies. The contributors provide an excellent basis for understanding how multiple Chicana/o views on the environment play out in the context of dominant social, political and economic views. Chicano Culture, Ecology, Politics examines a number of Chicana/o ecological perspectives. How can the ethics of reciprocity present in Chicana/o agropastoral life be protected and applied on a broader scale? How can the dominant society, whose economic structure is invested in "placeless mobility," take note of the harm caused to land-based cultures, take responsibility for it, and take heed before it is too late? Will the larger society be "ecologically housebroken" before it destroys its home?
Grounded in actual political struggles waged by Chicana/o communities over issues of environmental destruction, cultural genocide, and socioeconomic domination, this volume provides an important series of snapshots of Chicana/o history. Chicano Culture, Ecology, Politics illuminates the bridges that exist—and must be understood—between race, ethnicity, class, gender, politics, and ecology.
Part 1: IndoHispano Land Ethics
Los Animalitos: Culture, Ecology, and the Politics of Place in the Upper R¡o Grande, Devon G. Peña
Social Action Research, Bioregionalism, and the Upper Río Grande, Rubén O. Martínez
Notes on (Home)Land Ethics: Ideas, Values, and the Land, Reyes García
Part 2: Environmental History and Ecological Politics
Ecological Legitimacy and Cultural Essentialism: Hispano Grazing in Northern New Mexico, Laura Pulido
The Capitalist Tool, the Lawless, and the Violent: A Critique of Recent Southwestern Environmental History, Devon G. Peña and Rubén O. Martínez
Ecofeminism and Chicano Environmental Struggles: Bridges across Gender and Race, Gwyn Kirk
Philosophy Meets Practice: A Critique of Ecofeminism through the Voices of Three Chicana Activists, Malia Davis
Part 3: Alternatives to Destruction
The Pasture Poacher (a poem), Joseph C. Gallegos
Acequia Tales: Stories from a Chicano Centennial Farm, Joseph C. Gallegos
A Gold Mine, an Orchard, and an Eleventh Commandment, Devon G. Peña
Focusing on the often unrecognized role race plays in expressions of Chicano culture, Mestizaje is a provocative exploration of the volatility and mutability of racial identities. In this important moment in Chicano studies, Rafael Pérez-Torres reveals how the concepts and realities of race, historical memory, the body, and community have both constrained and opened possibilities for forging new and potentially liberating multiracial identities.
Informed by a broad-ranging theoretical investigation of identity politics and race and incorporating feminist and queer critiques, Pérez-Torres skillfully analyzes Chicano cultural production. Contextualizing the history of mestizaje, he shows how the concept of mixed race has been used to engage issues of hybridity and voice and examines the dynamics that make mestizo and mestiza identities resistant to, as well as affirmative of, dominant forms of power. He also addresses the role that mestizaje has played in expressive culture, including the hip-hop music of Cypress Hill and the vibrancy of Chicano poster art. Turning to issues of mestizaje in literary creation, Pérez-Torres offers critical readings of the works of Emma Pérez, Gil Cuadros, and Sandra Cisneros, among others. This book concludes with a consideration of the role that the mestizo body plays as a site of elusive or displaced knowledge.
Moving beyond the oppositions—nationalism versus assimilation, men versus women, Texans versus Californians—that have characterized much of Chicano studies, Mestizaje synthesizes and assesses twenty-five years of pathbreaking thinking to make a case for the core components, sensibilities, and concerns of the discipline.
Rafael Pérez-Torres is professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is author of Movements in Chicano Poetry: Against Myths, Against Margins, coauthor of To Alcatraz, Death Row, and Back: Memories of an East LA Outlaw, and coeditor of The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlán, 1970–2000.