Department of English

Blood Lines: Myth, Indigenism and Chicana/o Literature (University of Texas Press, 2008)

Wed, October 8, 2008


Blood Lines: Myth, Indigenism, and Chicana/o Literature examines a broad array of texts that have contributed to the formation of an indigenous strand of Chicano cultural politics. In particular, this book exposes the ethnographic and poetic discourses that shaped the aesthetics and stylistics of Chicano nationalism and Chicana feminism. Contreras offers original perspectives on writers ranging from Alurista and Gloria Anzaldua to Lorna Dee Cervantes and Alma Luz Villanueva, effectively marking the invocation of a Chicano indigeneity whose foundations and formulations can be linked to U.S. and British modernist writing.

By highlighting intertextualities such as those between Anzaldua and D. H. Lawrence, Contreras critiques the resilience of primitivism in the Mexican borderlands. She questions established cultural perspectives on "the native," which paradoxically challenge and reaffirm racialized representations of Indians in the Americas. In doing so, Blood Lines brings a new understanding to the contradictory and richly textured literary relationship that links the projects of European modernism and Anglo-American authors, on the one hand, and the imaginary of the post-revolutionary Mexican state and Chicana/o writers, on the other hand.

Placing texts of Chicana/o indegenism and nationalism alongside European and Euro-American ethnographic, travel, and journalistic writing, this is the first comprehensive, comparative literary study of its kind.

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