Citizenship and Performance in El Teatro Campesino
This chapter discusses the celebrated theater collective El Teatro Campesino and its staging of a “performative citizenship” that challenged the regime of immigration restriction of U.S. immigration law. After the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, racial fears led to the establishment of the Border Patrol in 1924 and to the passage that same year of the Johnson-Reed Act, which created an unprecedented system of preferences that “drew a new ethnic and racial map based on new categories and hierarchies of difference.” In response, El Teatro Campesino improvised skit that enacted an alternative form of belonging based not on papers but on the power of creative labor.
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