Mancha filmed segments in which we dialogued two-by-two about Chicano literature from its earliest manifestations in the colonial period, the early 20th century writings, the flowering of creativity during the Chicano Movement, the contributions of women, and the post-Movement period to the present. Herrera-Sobek and Garcia had a lively debate about the sometimes controversial re-articulations of the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe in literature and art. Later in the day, we responded individually to questions Morales posed, debated some key issues with him, and presented our ideas about the future of Chicano literature. We discussed issues such as the place of Chicano literature in the American literary canon, its connection to the growing Chicano and U.S. Latino population—now 55 million, including 35-40 million of Mexican descent, the use of English and Spanish in literary texts, the creation of literary personas, and the impact of digital technology on the future of Chicano literature.
The opportunity to dialogue with these longtime friends and scholars of Chicano literature was a tremendous learning experience and a stimulating infusion of energy into our current work and research. The perspectives of different disciplines such as literary studies and history enriched the discussion, as did the contributions of Amaia from Spain. She reminded us of the difficulties Chicano literature faces in reaching audiences in Spain because most of it is written in English and must be translated. I hope we can continue this rich discussion regularly in the future by linking up together in Google Hangouts, as I recently did in two videos with a group of graduate students I’m working with about their dissertations and new teaching methods. Check them out, and join in our discussions of Chicano literature down the road!
June 26, 2013
July 8, 2013