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Remembering the Hacienda: History and Memory in the Mexican American Southwest

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What the plantation has been to the history and literature of the American South, the hacienda has been to Mexico and the American Southwest. In Remembering the Hacienda, Vincent Pérez makes the case that the hacienda offers the emblem of an "antebellum," agrarian social order that predates the United States.

It is the site in which the Mexican American community's "heroic," genteel forebears lived in dignity and pride, and it is the heritage from which they were cast out as "orphans," both in mother Mexico by the Revolution and in the American Southwest when the wars of 1836 and 1846-48 and capitalist land grabs dispossessed the Mexican hacendados. The hacienda, Pérez argues, had its own orphans, too: Indians, mestizos, women, and peons.

To trace the importance of the hacienda and its heroes and orphans in Mexican American culture, Pérez examines five novels and autobiographies: Jovita González and Eve Raleigh's Caballero: A Historical Novel (written in the 1930s and 1940s and later published by Texas A&M University Press), María Maparo Ruiz de Burton's The Squatter and the Don (1885), Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo's Historical and Personal Memoirs Relating to Alta, California (1874), Leo Carrillo's The California I Love (1961), and Francisco Róbles Pérez's immigrant autobiography "Memorias." The last work is Pérez's own grandfather's life narrative.

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Editorial Reviews

Louis Mendoza

“An important contribution to the study of Chicana/o literature. This work is significant because not only do we see how this applies to the hacienda narratives he reads but we also gain a better understanding of the socio-political implications of memory for Mexican American inter- and intra- group relations. For these reasons, his work is a valuable contribution to an ongoing search for new historical paradigms in Chicana/o studies, especially in the emergent debates about the power and limitation of narrative. Remembering the Hacienda is a well-theorized and researched study that will appeal to scholars and students of Chicana/o-Latina/o studies, American literature (especially those with an interest in multi-ethnic literatures), as well as Borderland, American, and Transnational studies. Perez’s project is well-conceived, clearly organized, and lucidly written.”--Louis Mendoza, University of Minnesota
Colonial Latin American Historical Review

"This thought-provoking book is recommended to both students and scholars interested in the history of the Mexican-American communities of the Greater Southwest and northern Mexico." --Colonial Latin American Historical Review
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Vincent Pérez, an associate professor at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, holds a Ph.D. in modern thought and literature from Stanford University.
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Table of Contents

1 The hacienda in history and memory 21
2 Remembering the hacienda : land and community in Californio narrative 49
3 History and memory in Jovita Gonzalez and Eve Raleigh's Caballero : a historial novel 93
4 Ghosts of old California : the performances of Leo Carrillo 114
5 Heroes and orphans of the hacienda : testimonial memory as resistance and repression in Francisco Robles Perez's "Memorias" 147
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