Latino/a Popular Culture

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Cover artwork by Diane Gamboa. Credit-Click here

Latinos have become the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. While the presence of Latinos and Latinas in mainstream news and in popular culture in the United States buttresses the much-heralded Latin Explosion, the images themselves are often contradictory.

In Latino/a Popular Culture, Habell-Pallán and Romero have brought together scholars from the humanities and social sciences to analyze representations of Latinidad in a diversity of genres - media, culture, music, film, theatre, art, and sports - that are emerging across the nation in relation to Chicanas, Chicanos, mestizos, Puerto Ricans, Caribbeans, Central Americans and South Americans, and Latinos in Canada.

Contributors include Adrian Burgos, Jr., Luz Calvo, Arlene Dávila, Melissa A. Fitch, Michelle Habell-Pallán, Tanya Katerí Hernández, Josh Kun, Frances Negron-Muntaner, William A. Nericcio, Raquel Z. Rivera, Ana Patricia Rodríguez, Gregory Rodriguez, Mary Romero, Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez, Christopher A. Shinn, Deborah R. Vargas, and Juan Velasco.

Cover artwork "Layering the Decades" by Diane Gamboa, 2002, mixed media on paper, 11 X 8.5". Copyright 2001, Diane Gamboa. Printed with permission.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Latino/a Popular Culture greatly contributes to the genres of both cultural studies and Latino studies. The editors exhort undergraduate and graduate students to continue looking at Latino/a popular coluture as "as site of invention, critique and pleasure" (p.16) since much work still needs to be done in this area."

-Harvard Educational Review,

"The book provides an insight into the current struggles that Latinos who live in the norhern hemisphere face."


"With stunning, eloquent, and insightful essays Latina and Latino Popular Culture offers the best guide to the cultural production of the largest group of people of color in the United States. The essays broaden both our knowledge of Latino/a cultural production and challenge the traditional paradigms of cultural and ethnic studies doing so through accessible, historically informed approaches."

-Mary Pat Brady,Cornell University

Library Journal
A collection of 16 thought-provoking essays centered on media, music, theater, art, and sports, this multidisciplinary and multiethnic project stresses "the need to amplify the investigation of Latino popular culture within a larger context of the Americas." Challenging the perception of Latinization in culture, the contributors, mostly scholars from the humanities and social sciences (Arlene D villa, Luz Calvo, and Ana Patricia Rodriguez, to name a few), almost without exception follow the theme of identity among Latin groups typified in the opening essay on Latino portrayals on Spanish-language television. MTV International is the topic of a disturbing piece on music videos and social activism led by a border band. The phenomenon of Mexican American boxer Oscar de la Hoya is the subject of an essay on the Latino rejection of a cultural icon thought to be too Anglicized for many in the Los Angeles barrios. More focused on the influences of North American Latino culture than the recent Latin American Popular Culture: An Introduction, this collection deserves a space on shelves in all academic libraries. Boyd Childress, Auburn Univ. Lib., NY Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814736241
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2002
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 0.81 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michelle Habell-Pallán is an Associate Professor in the Women Studies Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the co-editor with Mary Romero of Latino/a Popular Culture (NYU Press, 2002).

Mary Romero is Professor of Justice Studies at Arizona University. She is the author or editor of many books, including Maid in the U.S.A. In 2012, she was awarded the Julian Samora Distinguished Career Award by the Latino/Latina Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 Talking Back: Spanish Media and U.S. Latinidad 25
2 Barbie's Hair: Selling Out Puerto Rican Identity in the Global Market 38
3 The Buena Vista Social Club: The Racial Politics of Nostalgia 61
4 "Lemme Stay, I Want to Watch": Ambivalence in Borderlands Cinema 73
5 Encrucijadas: Ruben Blades at the Transnational Crossroads 85
6 "The Sun Never Sets on MTV": Tijuana NO! and the Border of Music Video 102
7 Bidi Bidi Bom Bom: Selena and Tejano Music in the Making of Tejas 117
8 Hip Hop and New York Puerto Ricans 127
9 Paul Simon's The Capeman: The Staging of Puerto Rican National Identity as Spectacle and Commodity on Broadway 147
10 Gender Bending in Latino Theater: Johnny Diego, The His-panic Zone, and Deporting the Divas by Guillermo Reyes 162
11 "Don't Call Us Hispanic": Popular Latino Theater in Vancouver 174
12 A Decidedly "Mexican" and "American" Semi[er]otic Transference: Frida Kahlo in the Eyes of Gilbert Hernandez 190
13 Performing Multiple Identities: Guillermo Gomez-Pena and His "Dangerous Border Crossings" 208
14 Learning America's Other Game: Baseball, Race, and the Study of Latinos 225
15 Futbol Nation: U.S. Latinos and the Goal of a Homeland 240
16 Boxing and Masculinity: The History and (Her)story of Oscar de la Hoya 252
Contributors 269
Index 275
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