José Antonio Villarreal’s Pocho and Chicano Cultural Nationalism of the Late Nineteenth Century
This chapter sutures the pre- and post-civil rights movements—a divide that operates as a historical schism for Latino Studies. Analyzing José Antonio Villarreal’s novel Pocho (1959, which many have hailed as the first Chicano novel), this chapter argues that the novel is better understood not as an origin point but rather as a node within a longer genealogy of Latino culture. This chapter focuses on sexuality, homoeroticism, and homophobia, depictions that are at odds with some of the stated objectives of the Chicano movement’s foundational documents, but that situate the novel within earlier discussions of American democratic values. Read alongside early Chicano movement manifestos and correspondence, the chapter calls for a more historically expansive understanding of the emergence and legacy of the Chicano movement.
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