Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Seeking a relevant queerness: Sexual, racial and nationalist negotiations of identity amongst the Latino immigrant community in Washington, D.C.
by Viteri, Maria-Amelia, Ph.D., American University, 2008, 185; 3305949
Abstract (Summary)

Based on ethnographic work conducted between 2004 and 2006 with LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Latino community members living in the D.C. metro area, as well as summer research conducted in Ecuador and El Salvador during the summers of 2005 and 2006 respectively, I ethnographically map throughout this Anthropological research project how U.S. identity categories such as 'queer,' 'Latino,' 'American' are not stable categories but are constantly translated and as such reinvented and politicized according to diverse constructions of race and sexuality where notions of space are blurred with narratives from the 'homeland.'

Having said this, I use 'queer' as an analytical tool to problematize the notion of a seamless relationship between identity and practice by illustrating the multiple unfixed meanings that 'Latino'-'American'- take as these categories are re-appropriated and translated by LGBT Latinos in D.C., El Salvador and Ecuador. I argue that LGBT 'Latinos and Latinas' negotiation towards and against a 'queer' and 'Latino' fixed identity act as a way to contest a 'western' (understood as colonial and Eurocentric) 'authority' embodied by these scripts and labels. This analysis is conducted considering the importance of understanding translation and border crossing as non-linear processes.

The importance of looking at the intersection of categories such as 'Latino' and 'queer' that clash with discourses around citizenship particularly considering the current anti-immigration debate, produces new methodological and theoretical questions. These questions call to revisit the foundations of those same tools we use to conduct research where LGBT Latinos - and not (only) the theories about them - need to be exposed.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Leap, William
Commitee:
School: American University
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/03, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Gender, Hispanic Americans
Keywords: Belonging and citizenship, Identity, Immigration, Latino, Latinos, Race/ethnicity, Sexuality, Translation, Washington, D.C.
Publication Number: 3305949
ISBN: 978-0-549-53721-2
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