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Badmen, Bandits, and Folk Heroes The Ambivalence of Mexican American Identity in Literature and Film

ISBN-10: 0816528683
ISBN-13: 9780816528684
Edition: 2009
Authors: Juan J. Alonzo
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Description: Badmen, Bandits, and Folk Heroes is a comparative study of the literary and cinematic representation of Mexican American masculine identity from early twentieth-century adventure stories and movie Westerns through contemporary self-representations  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: University of Arizona Press
Publication date: 9/15/2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.50" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.946
Language: English

Badmen, Bandits, and Folk Heroes is a comparative study of the literary and cinematic representation of Mexican American masculine identity from early twentieth-century adventure stories and movie Westerns through contemporary self-representations by Chicano/a writers and filmmakers. In this deeply compelling book, Juan J. Alonzo proposes a reconsideration of the early stereotypical depictions of Mexicans in fiction and film: rather than viewing stereotypes as unrelentingly negative, Alonzo presents them as part of a complex apparatus of identification and disavowal. Furthermore, Alonzo reassesses Chicano/a self-representation in literature and film, and argues that the Chicano/a expression of identity is characterized less by essentialism than by an acknowldgement of the contingent status of present-day identity formations. Alonzo opens his provocative study with a fresh look at the adventure stories of Stephen Crane and the silent Western movies of D. W. Griffith. He also investigates the conflation of the greaser, the bandit, and the Mexican revolutionary into one villainous figure in early Western movies and, more broadly, traces the development of the badman in Westerns. He newly interrogates the writings of Américo Paredes regarding the makeup of Mexican masculinity, and productively trains his analytic eye on the recent films of Jim Mendiola and the contemporary poetry of Evangelina Vigil. Throughout Badmen, Bandits, and Folk Heroes, Alonzo convincingly demonstrates how fiction and films that formerly appeared one-dimensional in their treatment of Mexicans and Mexican Americans actually offer surprisingly multifarious and ambivalent representations. At the same time, his valuation of indeterminacy, contingency, and hybridity in contemporary cultural production creates new possibilities for understanding identity formation.

List of Figures
Introduction: Ambivalence and Contingency in the Representation of Mexican Identity
The Greaser in Stephen Crane's Mexican Stories and D. W. Griffith's Early Westerns
Greasers, Bandits, and Revolutionaries: The Conflation of Mexican Identity Representation, 1910-1920
The Western's Ambivalence and the Mexican Badman
Stereotype, Idealism, and Contingency in the Revolutionary's Depiction
Gregorio Cortez in the Chicano/a Imaginary and American Popular Culture
Reformulating Hybrid Identities and Re-inscribing History in Contemporary Chicano/a Literature and Film
Epilogue: The Return of the Stereotypical Repressed: Why Stereotypes Still Matter
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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