Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Visiting Professor Karen Roybal publishes an article in the latest issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies

Visiting Professor and Center for Regional Studies Visiting Scholar Karen Roybal has published an article entitled “ Pushing the Boundaries of Border Subjectivity, Autobiography, and Camp-Rasquachismo”  in the latest issue of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Vol. 38, no. 2 (Fall 2013): 71-94. Print.

In this essay, Roybal complicates the idea of autobiography as a genre that typically generates self-discovery by demonstrating that for "border subjects," those who must navigate the US-Mexico border in their process of self-discovery, autobiographical representation presents complex issues because of the border's liminality. As an area that has historically been highly contested, one where people live in a state of ambiguity, the US-Mexico borderlands produce subjects who demonstrate fragmented and layered identities in their autobiographical works

Through a reading of Guillermo Gómez-Peña's Border Brujo (1989) and Lourdes Portillo's The Devil Never Sleeps (1994), Roybal argues that these representations demonstrate a new subjectivity defined by a hybrid camp-rasquache aesthetic; they also place the US-Mexico border at their core. Through her reading of the documentaries, Roybal (re)introduces a third category that links camp to rasquache sensibilities: the queer. Building upon José Esteban Muñoz's and Ramon García's introduction of queer theory in discussions of Chicano camp, the essay expands the political work of queer aesthetic in relation to the space of the US-Mexico border.

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