New Book: Charros: How Mexican Cowboys are Remapping Race and American Identity by Laura R. Barraclough

Make sure to check out the interview here:

In Charros: How Mexican Cowboys Are Remapping Race and American Identity (University of California Press, 2019), Dr. Laura R. Barraclough tells a surprising story about the urban American West. Barraclough, the Sarai Ribicoff Associate Professor in American Studies at Yale University, writes the history of elite Mexican and Mexican-American cowboys – charros – and how charro culture served as a site of contested national identity in the mid twentieth century United States. In Western cities such as Los Angeles, Denver, and San Antonio, Chicano men and women used charro organizations and events as places where one could assert both Mexican and American, as well as middle- and upper-class, identities. Rather than the archetypical image of a white, dusty, cowboy riding alone across a desolate mesa, Charrosportrays a Western ranching culture that is more urban, more flamboyant, more crowded, and less white than many Americans may assume.

Reviewed by Stephen Hausmann for New Books Network.



Check out this wonderful article by Christina Miranda for Has anyone read any of these books? Comment below! I can say that Everyone Knows You Go Home is excellent and pairs beautifully with Oscar Cásares Where We Come From.


With summer officially here, there’s now plenty of time do some light (or heavy) reading, depending on your liking. Whether you are taking a vacation, a road trip, or working but squeezing in some reading in throughout the workday, we have compiled a summer reading list of Latinx books that are sure to entertain, inform, and inspire you throughout the hot few months ahead.



Sylvester’s second novel tells the story of an unexpected family reunion. Following Isabel and Martin’s wedding, Omar, Martin’s father, appears unexpectedly as a spirit visible only to Isabel. Still unwelcome after abandoning his family, Martin admits his being unaware of Omar’s passing. Every year after, on their wedding anniversary, Omar visits Isabel in order to redeem himself by offering her his story, and revealing parts of her new family and husband. Everyone Knows You Go Home offers a story embedded in the harsh, emotional reality of new lives in a new country, how it takes a brutal toll on one family’s future, and the uphill journey towards redemption in life and death.



As a Filipino immigrant, Jose Antonio Vargas lets the reader know right from the beginning that “this book is not about immigration at all.” Instead, Vargas takes a different approach to describing his new life in America through his immediate immersion in its culture, his fascination with it, and the discomfort experienced in not belonging to it or his Filipino culture. Dear America is about wandering for an identity not just during a fresh start but for the many years that follow, and the weight one bears in finding a home.



We are witnessing a new racial and social movement, and Chicana Movidas serves as the perfect companion to the new Chicana revolution. Containing multiple contributions from Chicana activists and scholars, the book traces the early stages of the early Chicana movement up into the new century. Focusing on multiple subjects, from race to gender and sexuality, this anthology serves as a refreshing contribution to social activism and identity equality.



Peña’s debut novel introduces us to Uli and his brother, Cuauhtémoc. After taking a joy ride on a crop duster plane over the U.S.-Mexico border, the two crash land in Mexico, leaving them injured and immediately separated. Uli finds himself in a hospital, while Cuauhtémoc wakes up as a hostage to a drug cartel. In between these narratives lies their mother, Araceli, who makes the difficult decision to cross back to Mexico in search of her sons. Throughout the narrative, the three characters navigate the normalized dangers of living in Mexico and illuminate the personal experiences of Mexicans caught in the middle of a drug war.



Sandra Cisneros offers a truly special piece of literature in her new chapbook, Puro Amor, presented in English and Spanish side-by-side along with illustrations by Cisneros herself. Artists Mister and Missus Rivera surround themselves with a great number of animals, to the point that neighbors believe they’re running a farm. Cisneros provides her animals, ranging from cats and dogs to a fawn and iguana, with a regal, spiritual quality. As the two maneuver through the complications of their marriage, the animals are what give her life and the love she desires.



Set in a South Texas dystopian future where multiple border walls have been erected, all narcotics have been legalized and cartels have begun to enter the biological black market, resurrecting and mutating extinct animal species for consumption and shrinking indigenous heads for the wealthy. Esteban Bellacosa is submerged in a dark underground world, coming across relics of the ancient past, including the lost Aranaña Tribe and their dirty Trufflepig, which possessed mystical powers. Flores’ debut novel is fascinating and sprinkled perfectly with dark humor and psychedelic imagery that pulls you deep into Bellacosa’s universe.



Set in the 19th century, Swedish immigrant Håkan Söderström sets out east from California in search of his brother Linus, who was separated from him during their voyage to America. Through his journey he encounters the brutality and struggle of the people migrating west as he himself attempts to understand the violent and confusing world around him as a non-English speaker. As Diaz’s first novel (a Pulitzer Prize finalist to boot), In the Distance is an appealing new take on the modern western novel, countering the traditionally masculinist and violent narrative through Håkan’s own criticisms against it, and the shame it brings him as he becomes pulled into the frontier it creates.



Paloma Martinez-Cruz makes a gastronomic analysis of the way Chicanx food has evolved and is currently evolving in order to create a clearer understanding of its appropriation and exploitation. From the treatment of farm workers in multiple countries who grow and harvest the foods that supply its industry, to the way that traditional Latinx and Chicanx foods have been appropriated by an Anglo luxury market, this culinary critique brings light to the issues that surround one of the most important cultural components of Latinx communities. Cruz successfully helps food consumers understand what is currently wrong with the way we produce food, and pushes us to act to improve the quality of the products we purchase and the lives of the individuals who produce them.

New Book: Undocumented Lives The Untold Story of Mexican Migration by Ana Raquel Minian

In the 1970s the Mexican government acted to alleviate rural unemployment by supporting the migration of able-bodied men. Millions crossed into the United States to find work that would help them survive as well as sustain their families in Mexico. They took low-level positions that few Americans wanted and sent money back to communities that depended on their support. But as U.S. authorities pursued more aggressive anti-immigrant measures, migrants found themselves caught between the economic interests of competing governments. The fruits of their labor were needed in both places, and yet neither country made them feel welcome.

Ana Raquel Minian explores this unique chapter in the history of Mexican migration. Undocumented Lives draws on private letters, songs, and oral testimony to recreate the experience of circular migration, which reshaped communities in the United States and Mexico. While migrants could earn for themselves and their families in the U.S., they needed to return to Mexico to reconnect with their homes periodically. Despite crossing the border many times, they managed to belong to communities on both sides of it. Ironically, the U.S. immigration crackdown of the mid-1980s disrupted these flows, forcing many migrants to remain north of the border permanently for fear of not being able to return to work. For them, the United States became known as the jaula de oro—the cage of gold.

Undocumented Lives tells the story of Mexicans who have been used and abused by the broader economic and political policies of Mexico and the United States.

Announcing the Publication of Encuentro: Latinx Performance for the New American Theater

Check out this essay by the Latinx Theatre Commons!

The Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) is thrilled to announce the publication of Encuentro: Latinx Performance for the New American Theater with Northwestern University Press. As a project supported by the LTC, Encuentro is co-edited by LTC Steering Committee and Advisory Committee members Trevor BoffoneTeresa Marrero, and Chantal Rodriguez.

In line with scholarship, one of the core tenets of the LTC, this anthology is a collection of new Latinx plays and performances that emerged from the Los Angeles based Latino Theater Company’s landmark Encuentro 2014: A National Latina/o Theatre Festival, produced in association with the LTC. Encuentro 2014 was an historic event in which nineteen theatre companies were selected from a competitive, national application process to participate in a month-long residency to perform in the largest national Latinx theatre festival in over twenty-five years.

people dancing

Encuentro 2014 Welcome Dance Party.

This anthology makes an important contribution as it chronicles not only the theatrical productions of Encuentro 2014, but also the impact of the festival as a whole on the field at large. Given that the plays and events within the festival included cultural ritual, political demonstration, and social practice, the anthology also provides a dynamic account of these intersections within US Latinx Theatre. Publication of these plays by Northwestern University Press serves not only as a testament to the diversity of Latinx artists, but also to the strength of the Latinx Theatre movement and its ever growing national network.

There is power in the communal experience of creating, witnessing, and participating in theatre festivals.

Encuentro means “an encounter,” and meetings form a core theme in these six groundbreaking plays, each prefaced by a critical introduction from a leading Latinx theatre scholar. The volume includes the following plays and critical introductions:

  • Aliens, Immigrants & Other Evildoers by José Torres-Tama; introduction by Dr. Tiffany Lopez
  • Dreamscape by Rickerby Hinds; introduction by Olga Sanchez Saltveit
  • La Esquinita, USA by Rubén Gonzalez; introduction by Dr. Jorge Huerta
  • Patience, Fortitude, and Other Antidepressants by Mariana Carreño King; introduction by Dr. Beatriz Rizk
  • Premeditation by Evelina Fernández; introduction by Dr. Grace Lopez
  • Zoetrope Part 1 by Javier González; introduction by Dr. Irma Mayorga

Playwrights Ruben C. Gonzalez, José Torres-Tama, Rickerby Hinds, Mariana Carreño King, Javier Antonio González, and Evelina Fernández exhibit a wide range of aesthetic approaches, dramatic structures, and themes, ranging from marriage, gentrification, racial and gendered violence, migration, and the ever-present politics of the US–Mexico border. There is power in the communal experience of creating, witnessing, and participating in theatre festivals. This anthology is a testament to that power and seeks to document the historic festival as well as to make these works available to a wider audience.

an actor onstage

Aliens, Immigrants, & Other Evildoers by José Torres-Tama.

In spite of an explosion of Latinx plays and productions since the advent of the new millennium, few of these works have been published in a cohesive, systematic manner. The gold standard of Latinx play anthologies are mostly dated: Necessary Theater: Six Plays About the Chicano Experience (1989); Shattering the Myth: Plays by Hispanic Women (1992); Out of the Fringe: Contemporary Latina/o Theater and Performance (2000); Puro Teatro: a Latina Anthology (2000); and Fronteras Vivientes: Eight Latina/o Canadian Plays ( 2013). While these anthologies remain valuable works for educators, literary managers, and general reading audiences alike, they largely reinforce a dated view of Latinx identity. Encuentro is timely and reflects recent developments in the burgeoning Latinx theatre movement. More importantly, it updates the canon of Latinx theatre by reflecting not only the transnational character of Latinidad in the twenty-first century, but also by featuring the works of established artists alongside emerging ones while chronicling Encuentro 2014, a landmark event within the history of Latinx theatre in the twenty-first century.

Encuentro is timely and reflects recent developments in the burgeoning Latinx theatre movement.

One of the central goals of Encuentro ‘14—and the subsequent Encuentro de las Americas in 2017—was to revitalize a national network of Latinx theatres and artists to encourage the dissemination of their work nationwide. Exciting productions, tours, and professional partnerships have already sprung as a result. As these plays continue to be produced around the country and abroad, the demand to have these works in print will increase. Similarly, this anthology provides access to these works to scholars and artists who are currently and will continue to document this seminal movement within the field of American Theatre history.

It is the hope of the LTC and the co-editors of Encuentro: Latinx Performance for the New American Theater that volumes such as this are not exceptions to the rule, but, rather, become the gold standard for how we continue documenting the current Latinx theatre movement. As the work of the LTC has demonstrated since its advent in Boston in 2013, this work is only just beginning.

New Book: Latina Outsiders Remaking Latina Identity edited by Grisel Y. Acosta

Latina Outsiders Remaking Latina Identity is an exploration of Latinas on the periphery of both Latina culture and mainstream culture in the United States. Whether they are deliberately rejected or whether they choose to reject sexist, classist, or racist practices within their cultures, the subjects of these articles, essays, short fiction, poems, testimonios, and visual art demonstrate the value of their experience. Ultimately, the outsider experience influences what the larger culture adopts, demonstrating that a different perspective is key to remaking Latina identity. Outside perspectives include those of queer, indigenous, Afro-Latina, activist, and differently-abled individuals.

By challenging stereotypes and revealing the diverse range of narratives that make up the Latina experience, Latina Outsiders Remaking Latina Identity will expand and deepen notions of the Latina identity for students and researchers of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Latinx: The Future is Now series…

This looks awesome. Can’t wait to see some of the publications that come out of this!

Announcing a New Series—Latinx: The Future is Now

Latinx: The Future Is Now is a new interdisciplinary series devoted to the evolving field of Latina/o/x studies, including Central American, Afro-Latinx, and Asian-Latinx studies. Situated at the nexus of cultural, performance, historical, food, environmental, and textual studies, the series will focus on ways in which the racial, cultural, and social formations of historical Latinx communities can engage and enhance scholarship across geographies and nationalities. The series editors invite projects that consider the multiple queer and gender-fluid possibilities that are embodied in the “x”; projects that have a feminist critique of patriarchy at the center of their intellectual work; projects that deploy a relational approach to ethnic and national groups; and projects that address the overlapping dynamics of gender, race, sexual, and national identities.

Submissions or queries may be directed to the series editors, Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, and Lorgia Garcia-Peña, in addition to Senior Acquisitions Editor, Kerry Webb,

Forthcoming books in the series will be listed here as they are published:

# # #

Dr. Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández is Associate Professor of American Studies and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. She is an expert in Borderlands History after 1846, Transnational Feminist Methodologies, Latinx Studies, and Popular Culture and Immigration. As a public intellectual, Dr. Guidotti-Hernández has written numerous articles for the feminist magazine Ms. and the feminist blog The Feminist Wire, covering such topics as immigration, reproductive rights, and the Dream act. She also sits on the national advisory council for the Ms. and is currently on the national advisory council for Freedom University in Athens, Georgia.

Dr. Lorgia Garcia-Peña is the Roy G. Clouse Associate Professor of Latinx Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of  award-winning book The Borders of Dominicanidad and the co-founder of Freedom University Georgia, a modern-day freedom school created to support undocumented students.

Alicia Gaspar de Alba in Austin on May 2nd   RSVP here – seats are limited!


“This is about resistance:” The Feminist Revisions of Alicia Gaspar de Alba

Thursday, May 2, 2019, 4:00pm – 6:00pm

The University of Texas Libraries, The Center for Mexican American Studies, the Center for Women and Gender Studies, and LLILAS Benson Latin American Studies and Collections invite you to commemorate the acquisition of the Alicia Gaspar de Alba papers. The multifaceted Chicana queer feminist scholar will be reading from her works and discussing her career with MALS lecturer and community organizer Lilia Rosas. Archival viewing and reception to follow remarks. 

New Book: El Norte by Carrie Gibson

About the Book

Because of our shared English language, as well as the celebrated origin tales of the Mayflowerand the rebellion of the British colonies, the United States has prized its Anglo heritage above all others. However, as Carrie Gibson explains with great depth and clarity in El Norte, the nation has much older Spanish roots—ones that have long been unacknowledged or marginalized. The Hispanic past of the United States predates the arrival of the Pilgrims by a century, and has been every bit as important in shaping the nation as it exists today.

El Norte chronicles the sweeping and dramatic history of Hispanic North America from the arrival of the Spanish in the early 16th century to the present—from Ponce de Leon’s initial landing in Florida in 1513 to Spanish control of the vast Louisiana territory in 1762 to the Mexican-American War in 1846 and up to the more recent tragedy of post-hurricane Puerto Rico and the ongoing border acrimony with Mexico. Interwoven in this stirring narrative of events and people are cultural issues that have been there from the start but which are unresolved to this day: language, belonging, community, race, and nationality. Seeing them play out over centuries provides vital perspective at a time when it is urgently needed.

In 1883, Walt Whitman meditated on his country’s Spanish past: “We Americans have yet to really learn our own antecedents, and sort them, to unify them,” predicting that “to that composite American identity of the future, Spanish character will supply some of the most needed parts.” That future is here, and El Norte, a stirring and eventful history in its own right, will make a powerful impact on our national understanding.

New Book: Latinx Literature Now Between Evanescence and Event

Latinx Literature Now engages with a diverse collection of works in Latinx literary studies, critical theory, and the philosophy of history, as well as a wide range of Latinx literary texts, in order to offer readers an alternative model of how Latinx literary scholarship and Latinx literary criticism might go about doing their work. It encourages practitioners in the field to reflect on literature and latinidad together as both parallel and intersecting historical-cultural formations, and to assess from that reflection how literary works might uniquely condition and depict latinidad as something other than a fixed, stable category of identity, as instead an ongoing process of becoming, one always capable of promise, but also always vulnerable to risk, threat, precarity and even disappearance: that is, as always more prone to the performative flash of an evanescence than to the ontological solidity of an event.


About the author: Ricardo L. Ortiz is Associate Professor of Latinx Literature and Culture at Georgetown University, USA.

With A New Book, Louie Pérez Of Los Lobos Is Master Storyteller

Check out this NPR article by Felix Contreras and Marisa Arbona-Ruiz. If you go to the site, you can even here an interview:


“There is no such thing as Chicano hippies! And playing Mexican music??”

That was my father’s reaction when I described seeing five honest-to-goodness Chicano hippies with beards and ponytails playing mariachi music at a Chicano student leadership retreat at UC Davis in 1975. Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles, the group called themselves.

Three years later, there was a bright yellow album cover with a drawing of a nopal plant and an inlay photo of those very same Chicano hippies that proclaimed themselves as ‘Just Another Band from East LA.’ They were still playing Mexican folk music and that record was a staple of Chicano activist parties during my college years in Fresno, Calif.

Then, nothing. For five years. Until they came roaring out of the LA punk scene with electric instruments turned up to 11 rocking corridos, a Ritchie Valens song and the first three originals by David Hidalgo and Louie Perez, a song writing team that would redefine Chicano musical expression and win legions of fans around the world.

Good Morning, Aztlán : The Words, Pictures and Songs of Louie Pérez (published by Tia Chucha Press) has just been published and it is a breathtaking examination of Pérez ‘s masterful storytelling in the name of sharing the lesson that we have more in common than we are different.

This week, Pérez sits down for a wide-ranging interview about the book, his own story, his creative bond with David Hidalgo that stretches back to the 11th grade and his commitment to telling the stories of the world as he has seen it from countless tour buses.

Good Morning, Aztlán has songs as well as short stories, poetry and philosophical riffs all written by Pérez and we selected a few to include in the show. Big thanks to Alt.Latino contributor Marisa Arbona-Ruiz‘s multi-talented acting skills for the dramatic readings on the show this week. Get your tissues out for her reading of “Little John Of God” one of Pérez ‘s most powerfully emotional songs.

With David Hidalgo as his writing partner and the rest of Los Lobos as the vehicle that brings those stories to life, Louie Pérez has created an imaginary world full of real life joys and pains and wonder that seems worlds away from the hippie mariachi I saw. But the through line going back to 8-year-old Louie Pérez of East LA has been his fascination with the written word. And we all have benefited from that.

Tia Chucha’s online bookstore