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Triangulations

Narrative Strategies for Navigating Latino Identity

2011
Author:

David J. Vázquez

Triangulations

How Latino autobiographical texts reconfigure identity in opposition to familiar notions of self

Just as mariners use triangulation, so, David J. Vázquez contends, Latino authors in late twentieth-century America employ the coordinates of ideas of self to find their way to new, complex identities. Through this metaphor, Vázquez reveals how Latino autobiographical texts, written after the 1960s rise of cultural nationalism, challenge mainstream notions of individual identity and national belonging in the U.S.

David J. Vázquez offers new ways of understanding Latino/a autobiographical narratives by bringing together self, community, and nation. Triangulations makes a significant contribution to the scholarship on nationalism, literary studies, and autobiography.

Frances Aparicio, Northwestern University

Just as mariners use triangulation, mapping an imaginary triangle between two known positions and an unknown location, so, David J. Vázquez contends, Latino authors in late twentieth-century America employ the coordinates of familiar ideas of self to find their way to new, complex identities. Through this metaphor, Vázquez reveals how Latino autobiographical texts, written after the rise of cultural nationalism in the 1960s, challenge mainstream notions of individual identity and national belonging in the United States.

In a traditional autobiographical work, the protagonist frequently opts out of his or her community. In the works that Vázquez analyzes in Triangulations, protagonists instead opt in to collective groups—often for the express political purpose of redefining that collective. Reading texts by authors such as Ernesto Galarza, Jesús Colón, Piri Thomas, Oscar “Zeta” Acosta, Judith Ortiz Cofer, John Rechy, Julia Alvarez, and Sandra Cisneros, Vázquez engages debates about the relationship between literature and social movements, the role of cultural nationalism in projects for social justice, the gender and sexual problematics of 1960s cultural nationalist groups, the possibilities for interethnic coalitions, and the interpretation of autobiography. In the process, Triangulations considers the potential for cultural nationalism as a productive force for aggrieved communities of color in their struggles for equality.

Triangulations

David J. Vázquez is assistant professor of English at the University of Oregon.

Triangulations

David J. Vázquez offers new ways of understanding Latino/a autobiographical narratives by bringing together self, community, and nation. Triangulations makes a significant contribution to the scholarship on nationalism, literary studies, and autobiography.

Frances Aparicio, Northwestern University

Provides innovative approaches to transnational dynamics underlying Latino autobiographical texts.

Choice

An intensive look at Latino/a first-person narratives, be they fiction, journalism, or memoir, Triangulations makes its own claim for multiplicity, as the title indicates.

Western American Literature

In this fascinating book, David J. Vázquez does an excellent job of mapping the trends that are found in some Latino narratives. He simplifies for us the complexities derived from this literary genre, while validating the contributions of Latino literature to the field.

Biography

Triangulations

Contents

Introduction. Notes on Triangulation: Navigating Latina/o Identity

1. Zigzagging through History: Ernesto Galarza, Jesús Colón, and the Development of Insurgent Consciousness
2. Crazy for the Nation: Piri Thomas, Oscar “Zeta” Acosta, and the Urban Outlaw
3. Remaking the Insurgent Vision: John Rechy, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and the Limits of Nationalist Morality
4. I Can’t Be Me without My People: Triangulating Historical Trauma in the Work of Julia Alvarez

Conclusion. New Millennial Triangulations

Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index