Los Fantasmas Sollozan: Ghosts, Bordermaking, and Cultural Hauntings in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands

Date

2023

Authors

Hern�ndez-Trejo, Paulina Sofia

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Abstract

In the last centuries, feeling like "neither from here nor there" and like "we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us" has generated an abundance of culturally rich narratives, ones that represent and humanize the complexities of Borderland experiences. These proverbs derive from histories of (im)migration, forced migration, shifting political landscapes, and the liminality that accompany these experiences. Ghosts, spirits, and hauntings were born from these collective and individual experiences, contributing to the aforementioned cultural narratives. Ghost stories and folklore are living remnants of these haunting histories, and they traverse intergenerational.This thesis delves into the Chicanx works of Rudolfo Anaya and Helena Maria Viramontes to analyze how U.S./Mexico Borderlands ghost stories unearth the deep-seated scars of bordermaking on racial and cultural identity. This corpus analyzes Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima and Viramontes's Under the Feet of Jesus using a combination of spectral theory, Chicana and women-of-color feminism, decolonial theory, border studies, and these theories' entanglements. As stories of cultural haunting, Bless and Under's hauntings/ghosts are vehicles for shaping identity amidst bordermaking and histories of (im)migration. Characters like Antonio Marez and Estrella become the spokespeople for the ghosts and hauntings. In learning and studying cultural identity through haunting narratives, we as readers gain a better understanding of the nuance within identity. Shaped by ethnicity, race, history, class, and many other factors-these stories of cultural haunting contribute to forming empathy and potential coalitional bonds between people of different backgrounds.

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Keywords

Borderlands, cultural haunting, decolonial Gothic, hybridity, la Llorona

Citation

Department

English