English Language and Literature ETDs

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This dissertation brings to light a legacy of Mexican American spatial resilience that troubles Anglo-centric constructions of the Southwest, its history, and cultural formation as a byproduct of westward expansionism. This project argues that early Mexican American writers offer an alternative paradigm of transnationalism for understanding the literature, culture, and geography of the U.S. Southwest as it has been imagined in Anglo American cultural production about the region. For early Mexican American writers, the Southwest was not a quaint literary region but a space of historic transnational zones of contact, commerce, and cultural geography where they maintained degrees of agency. I examine the writings of María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Fray Angélico Chávez, Federico Ronstadt, and Américo Paredes for their "transnational counterspaces." I use this term, which draws from spatial theories by Henri Lefebvre and Edward Soja, to describe their vocalizations of the Southwest produced in the face of their respective Anglo counterparts such as Willa Cather and other members of the Santa Fe and Taos writers colonies, Walter Noble Burns, J. Frank Dobie, and Walter Prescott Webb. I take an interdisciplinary approach dialoging with Chicano/a, borderlands, and American literary studies within a historical framework to chart how early Mexican American writings reclaim the region by mapping transnational heritages belonging to Mexican American and Chicano/a communities.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Cotera, Maria

Second Committee Member

Washburn, Kathleen

Third Committee Member

Emilio, Zamora

Project Sponsors

UNM Center for Regional Studies Dr. Hector Torres Fellowship; UNM Mellon Doctoral Defense Preparation Fellowship; American Association of University Women Santa Fe Branch; American Literary Studies George Arm Fund




Mexican American literature, Mexican American authors, History and criticism, American literature, Southwest, Southwestern states, Chicano/a, biculturalism, transnationalism, U.S.-Mexico Border studies, cartography and literature, cultural space, María Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Fray Angélico Chávez, Federico Ronstadt, Américo Paredes, literary criticism

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