Brown Gumshoes: Detective Fiction and the Search for Chicana/O Identity

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November 2005



Popular fiction, with its capacity for diversion, can mask important cultural observations within a framework that is often overlooked in the academic world. Works thought to be merely "escapist" can often be more seriously mined for revelations regarding the worlds they portray, especially those of the disenfranchised. As detective fiction has slowly earned critical respect, more authors from minority groups have chosen it as their medium. Chicana/o authors, previously reluctant to write in an underestimated genre that might further marginalize them, have only entered the world of detective fiction in the past two decades.In this book, the first comprehensive study of Chicano/a detective fiction, Ralph E. Rodriguez examines the recent contributions to the genre by writers such as Rudolfo Anaya, Lucha Corpi, Rolando Hinojosa, Michael Nava, and Manuel Ramos. Their works reveal the struggles of Chicanas/os with feminism, homosexuality, familia, masculinity, mysticism, the nationalist subject, and U.S.-Mexico border relations. He maintains that their novels register crucial new discourses of identity, politics, and cultural citizenship that cannot be understood apart from the historical instability following the demise of the nationalist politics of the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast to that time, when Chicanas/os sought a unified Chicano identity in order to effect social change, the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s have seen a disengagement from these nationalist politics and a new trend toward a heterogeneous sense of self. The detective novel and its traditional focus on questions of knowledge and identity turned out to be the perfect medium in which to examinethis new self.


Foreword by Jose E. Limon Acknowledgments Introduction: Alienated Eye/I: The Emergence of the Chicana/o Detective Novel Chapter 1. Rolando Hinojosa's KCDT Series: Instrumental Rationality and the Advance of Late Capitalism in Belkan County Chapter 2. Michael Nava's Henry Rios Series: You Can't Step in the Same Rio Twice Chapter 3. Lucha Corpi's Gloria Damasco Series: Detecting Cultural Memory and Chicanidad Chapter 4. Manuel Ramos's Luis Montez Series: Quien soy yo? Crises of Identity and Culture Chapter 5. Rudolfo Anaya's Sonny Baca Series: Governing the Self in a Sea of Change Conclusion: Looking Back, Pointing Forward Notes Works Cited Index


"Rodriguez is a first-rate literary scholar, well versed in a variety of methodologies and traditions. He offers informed and nuanced close readings of a number of key detective fictions, many of which are being discussed seriously for the first time in his study. He has assembled an important subgenre in the field of Chicano literature, and his book immediately positions him as the expert in the area... Intelligent, innovative, provocative: this is Chicano studies at its very best." David Roman, Department of English and Program in American Studies and Ethnicity, University of Southern California
EAN: 9780292712553
ISBN: 0292712553
Untertitel: 'History, Culture, and Society'. Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: November 2005
Seitenanzahl: 183 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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