Autohistoria Al Talón: Mariachi Performance, Space, Reinforced Gendered Boundaries
This thesis analyzes the concept of talón as it relates to performance of mariachis in Mexican restaurants in San Antonio, Texas. Applying the method of autohistoria, an analysis of memory through lived experience, gives insight into topics of gender and sexuality as they appear in this type of display. Supported by the theoretical frameworks of Gaye Theresa Johnson’s (2013) spatial entitlement and Maria Herrera-Sobek’s (1990) feminist archetypal analysis of women in traditional Mexican corridos, I reflect on my own experience to better understand problematic components in mariachi music and performance. I ultimately conclude, that while this research is minimal in terms of potential scope, it initiates important dialogue on topics that need to be addressed within mariachi such as gender and sexuality. I further encourage careful consideration of restaurants as spaces of learning and teaching, recognizing their influential value to cultural identity. These communicative events create important opportunities for much needed conversations that connect our sense of cultural identity to a larger social context.