Before ChicanoCitizenship and the Making of Mexican American Manhood, 1848-1959

Before ChicanoCitizenship and the Making of Mexican American Manhood, 1848-1959

Alberto Varon

Print publication date: 2019

ISBN: 9781479863969

Publisher: NYU Press

Abstract

Before Chicano: Citizenship and the Making of Mexican American Manhood, 1848-1959 is the first book-length study of Latino manhood before the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Mexican Americans are typically overlooked or omitted from American cultural life of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, despite their long-standing presence in the U.S. This book dislodges the association between Mexican Americans and immigration and calls for a new framework for understanding Mexican American cultural production and U.S. culture, but doing so requires an expanded archive and a multilingual approach to U.S. culture.Working at the intersection of culture and politics, Mexican Americans drew upon American democratic ideals and U.S. foundational myths to develop evolving standards of manhood and political participation. Through an analysis of Mexican American print culture (including fiction, newspapers and periodicals, government documents, essays, unpublished manuscripts, images, travelogues, and other genres), it demonstrates that Mexican Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries envisioned themselves as U.S. national citizens through cultural depictions of manhood. Before Chicano moves beyond the resistance paradigm that has dominated Latino Studies and uncovers a long history of how Latinos shaped—and were shaped by—American cultural life.