Borderlands Saints: Secular Sanctity in Chicano/a and Mexican Culture

Borderlands Saints: Secular Sanctity in Chicano/a and Mexican Culture

by Desiree A. Martin

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In Borderlands Saints, Desirée A. Martín examines the rise and fall of popular saints and saint-like figures in the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. Focusing specifically on Teresa Urrea (La Santa de Cabora), Pancho Villa, César Chávez, Subcomandante Marcos, and Santa Muerte, she traces the intersections of these figures, their devotees, artistic representations, and dominant institutions with an eye for the ways in which such unofficial saints mirror traditional spiritual practices and serve specific cultural needs.

Popular spirituality of this kind engages the use and exchange of relics, faith healing, pilgrimages, and spirit possession, exemplifying the contradictions between high and popular culture, human and divine, and secular and sacred. Martín focuses upon a wide range of Mexican and Chicano/a cultural works drawn from the nineteenth century to the present, covering such diverse genres as the novel, the communiqué, drama, the essay or crónica, film, and contemporary digital media. She argues that spiritual practice is often represented as narrative, while narrative—whether literary, historical, visual, or oral—may modify or even function as devotional practice.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813562339
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication date: 12/19/2013
Series: Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 296
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 16 - 18 Years

About the Author

DESIRÉE A. MARTÍN is an assistant professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Secular Sanctity of Borderlands Saints
1. Saint of Contradictions: Teresa Urrea, La Santa de Cabora
2. The Remains of Pancho Villa
3. Canonizing César Chávez
4. "Todos Somos Santos": Subcomandante Marcos and the EZLN
5. Illegal Marginalizations: La Santísima Muerte
Conclusion: Narrative Devotion

Works Cited

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