Afromestizaje: Toward a mapping of Chicana/o blackness in Tejana/o literature and popular music, 1920-2010




Cervantes, Marco Antonio

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Following Gloria Anzaldúa's challenge that "each of us must know our Indian lineage, our afromestizaje roots, our history of resistance," my dissertation pressures the persistently under theorized celebrations of mestizaje in Chicana/o culture, with particular attention to Tejana/o literature and music from the early 1900s to the present (108). I draw upon recent scholarship in Chicana/o studies, Black Studies, subaltern studies, post-colonial studies, and ethnomusicology to re-center Chicana/o Blackness in the field of Chicana/o studies. The status of Blackness as a topos, trope, and performance in Tejano culture, I argue, is undergirded by complex models of Tejana/o Blackness. This dissertation is divided into 3 parts, each divided into chapters.

In Part 1 "Chicana/o Literary Blackness," I examine works by Chicano writers Américo Paredes, Ricardo Sánchez and Raúl Salinas. In my preliminary mapping of the range of discourse on and performance of Tejano Blackness, I outline, In Chapter I, Paredes's critique of racialization in South Texas as well as the limited voice of his Black characters within his fiction. I also map Sánchez's and Salinas's performance of a Chicana/o nationalist literary Blackness in Chapter II.

In Part 2, "Afro-Tex-Mex Music," I map afromestizaje contours of Tejano music by explicating Esteban Jordan's adoption of various Afro-centric styles, forms and genres in Chapter III. In Chapter IV, I explore the complex interplay between Blackness, Tejano popular culture and proto-feminist performances in the music, dance, and fashion spectacles of Selena.

Part 3, "Chicana/o Hip Hop Culture in Texas" contains one Chapter and a conclusion. In Chapter V, I analyze Chingo Bling's performance of a Chicana/o Blackness that displays the overlapping cultures between Blacks and Chicana/os in Houston, Texas, as well as reinforces problematic masculinities associated with afromestiza/o performances. I conclude by exploring the contemporary and future performances of transracial musical politics in the works of Bocafloja, Las Krudas Cubensi, and Siete Nueve. I highlight multiracial afromestiza/o local performances in which Blackness situates multiracial bands beyond appropriation. I end calling for a shift in Chicana/o studies towards a broader engagement with a global Afro-Latina/o dialogue.


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Chicano Studies, Ethnomusicology, mestizaje