Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Telling Identities

The Californio testimonios

1995
Author:

Rosaura Sánchez

Telling Identities

Sánchez offers the first historical and literary analysis of thirty 1870s testimonios from the original Spanish-speaking settlers of Alta California. Telling Identities scrutinizes the role of gender, class, race, language, and ethnicity in group identity formation as it looks into history to help articulate the cultural politics of contemporary Chicano and Latino culture in the United States.

Sánchez offers the first historical and literary analysis of thirty 1870s testimonios from the original Spanish-speaking settlers of Alta California. Telling Identities scrutinizes the role of gender, class, race, language, and ethnicity in group identity formation as it looks into history to help articulate the cultural politics of contemporary Chicano and Latino culture in the United States.

Rosaura Sanchez is, in my opinion, one of the very best Chicana literary historians in the field at the present time.

The Californios were the original Spanish-speaking settlers of Alta California. By the 1870s they had become a conquered and dominated population as a result of the westward expansion of the United States. In that same decade the Californios were approached by agents of Hubert Howe Bancroft, a wealthy San Francisco book dealer and publisher, asking them to narrate recollections of their past in Alta California as part of a research project seeking to assemble all available information and documentation on California history. These dictated recollections are known today as testimonios.

Sánchez offers the first pointed historical and literary analysis of thirty of these testimonios from the 1870s along with additional narratives, diaries, and documents from the nineteenth century. Most of the materials she examines have never before been published and are accessible only in their original handwritten form at the Bancroft Library housed at the University of California at Berkeley. Telling Identities scrutinizes the role of gender, class, race, language, and ethnicity in group identity formation as it looks into history to help articulate the cultural politics of contemporary Chicano and Latino culture in the United States.

Telling Identities

Rosaura Sánchez is professor of literature at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of Chicano Discourse and recently coedited the republication of The Squatter and the Don, a novel written in 1885 by Californio author María Amparo Ruiz de Burton. Sánchez is known for both her critical work and her fiction.

Telling Identities

Rosaura Sanchez is, in my opinion, one of the very best Chicana literary historians in the field at the present time.

In Telling Identities, Rosaura Sanchez has made a signifiicant contribution to intellectual and social history which also affords a new methodology for examining cultural history by way of the story telling of the actors themselves.

Fredric R. Jameson, Duke University

“Rosaura Sánchez offers a telling and multi-layered analysis of more than thirty Californio recollections or testimonials.” Journal of American Ethnic History