"Find Yourself Here" argues that since transmigrants often form profound connections to place, we can develop a nuanced account of transmigrant subjectivity through innovative fiction by migrants who describe their own neighborhoods. The authors studied use their own hometowns as both setting and stylistic inspiration, deploying various formal techniques to mirror the fictional location to the real one, thus literarily enacting the neighborhood. I construct a neighborhood geography from each work, by traveling on foot, interviewing the neighbors and local historians, mapping the text’s fictional setting upon the actual spaces it references, and teasing out connections between place, narrative form, and migrancy, to demonstrate how excavating the locale illuminates the text. My methodology is interdisciplinary: it incorporates recent sociological studies of transnationalism by Linda Basch, Patricia Pessar, and Jorge Duany, tenets of Human Geography, and the work of Latino literary theorists including Raúl Homero Villa and Mary Pat Bray on space in narrative. My literary neighborhood geographies—of Salvador Plascencia’s El Monte barrio, Junot Díaz’s New Jersey housing development, Sandra Cisneros’ Westside Chicago, and Helena María Viramontes’ East Los Angeles—sharpen Latino literary criticism’s long-standing focus on urban and regional spaces in narrative by zooming in on neighborhood streets, while building on contemporary theories of transnationalism to analyze the broader cultural implications of local migrancy. By grounding the effects of transmigrancy in concrete locations, “Find Yourself Here” presents a comprehensive vision of the US Latino immigrant experience without generalizing from its myriad versions and numerous sites.
|Commitee:||Keizer, Arlene, Kyung-Jin Lee, James, Morales, Alejandro|
|School:||University of California, Irvine|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Latin American literature, Cultural anthropology, Latin American Studies, American literature|
|Keywords:||Chicano, Culture, Latino, Neighborhood logics, Twenty-first century literature|
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