Principal Chicano/a Lit Articles Authors

 Puerto Rican Literature in the United States                                  -                       Latina Women Writers in the United States


The Development of Chicano Literature


Historical Background Notes:

* 1821: México declares independence from Spain.  Its territory includes California, Texas, Nevada, Nuevo México, UTA, Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming.

* 1821: Anglo settlement in Texas.

* 1836: Texas declares independence.

* 1845: Settlements in Sutter’s Mill Gold mines in California.

          Annexation of Texas and California. Mexican-American War.

* 1846: US invasion of Mexico.

* 1848: Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo: Mexico cedes all its northern states and gets 15 millions dollars.  The Rio Grande divides both countries. Citizenship for the natives.

* 1910-1917: Insurrection against dictator Porfirio Díaz. Mexican revolution.

*1943: Zoot Suit Riots.  The emergence of the pocho.

* 1945: Bracero Program:  Agreements that allows entrance of temporary farm workers in the United States.

* 1963: Farm workers strike led by César Chávez.

* 1966: Plan Spiritual de Aztlán and foundation of  La Raza Unida.

* 1969: Brown Berets  in Los Angeles.

- Native-born population already present before the Mexican-American war.

- During the Mexican revolution migrant workers to labor on railroads, in the fields, steel mills, canning and food-processing. Working class migration.



-  19th century border corridos

-  Chicano ethnic folk literature. Literature of regional life and family sagas: Rolando Hinojosa, Rudolfo Anaya, Victor Villaseñor,

-  Chicano urban literature. Literature of modern ‘barrio’ life: J.L. Rodríguez, Alejandro Morales, John Rechy

-  The 1960s: The Plan of Aztlan and the Quinto Sol Prize: Poet Alurista, Anaya, Luis Valdez (El teatro campesino).Aztlan: pre-capitalist, land and spirit-centered basis for Chicano culture, literature and political activity

-  1980s: Chicana Literature. New models for literature.

-  Juan Bruce-Novoa defines Chicano literature as having a ‘deep structure’ concerning the exile from and the loss of a past world. Importance of community, land and kinship. This loss evolves from different ruptures: first comes the conquest, then independence and revolution and at present American neocolonization. The Us experience emerges from displacement, chaos, dismemberment and biculturalism, crisis of identity, etc. The written page is a place of liberation, reconstruction and reaffirmation.

-  Bruce-Novoa and others appealed to a literature of reconstruction and positive views of the Chicanos.

-  Recent efforts revise Chicano identity and Chicano literature as a product which is part, yet resistant to the mainstream of, US literature. This literature embarks in a deconstruction of imposed Anglo identities.

-  1960s and 1970s works were mainly male bildungsroman.

-  1980s and 1990s: Chicana literature: Feminist literature is multiply differential and resistant. It went counter not only to the hegemonic culture but also to the Chicano patriarchal patterns and even the white feminism. Norma Alarcón, Gloria Anzaldua, Cherríe Moraga.

-  Contemporary Chicano literature has been influenced by deconstructionism, feminism, post-marxism and postmodernism. The works go beyond ethnic concerns towards new modes of understanding and analyzing the present situation of the Chicanos/as in an urban postmodern space.















© Antonia Domínguez Miguela. Site last updated: 07/03/2007