Blog on the Hyphen takes its name from Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s engaging study, Life on the Hyphen (1994). Therein Pérez Firmat mixes personal memoir with studies on television, literature, and music to discuss how Cuban Americans negotiate their life on the hyphen, that is, as neither fully Cuban or fully American, but rather a hybrid of both. The now outmoded hyphen in “Cuban-American” marks these citizens as unique in their Otherness, but also in how they create spaces for community and belonging based on their difference.
Blog on the Hyphen aims to extend this metaphor to talk about Latinx cultural production and the artists that create it. We focus mostly on literature, cultural events, art, and call for papers that express some sense of Latinidad in the United States. With that being said, we are also aware of the complexities of Latinx cultures. We are not interested in reducing it to a singular experience nor do we propose to inscribe the Cuban American experience on other groups. Quite simply, we felt that the metaphor of the title has varying applicability to other Latinx communities that struggle to maintain their heritage in a larger mainstream society that has sought to stigmatize it. Though hyphens have become increasingly outmoded for their tendencies to Other, that struggle is still lived everyday. We hope that the resources that you find on these pages echo pride in one’s culture.
Pérez Firmat, Gustavo. Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way. UP of Texas, 1994.