A trans-Atlantic look at Chicana/o culture and literature from a Spanish perspective

Authored by: José Antonio Gurpegui

Routledge Handbook of Chicana/o Studies

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138847873
eBook ISBN: 9781315726366
Adobe ISBN:


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In a conversation with New Mexican writer Sabine R. Ulibarrí in 1987 at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, he said: “We have been forgotten by the Spaniards. We were ignored during the time before you got here, and we are even today.” This was not a reproachful remark; he was simply expressing reality as he and others experience it. Upon reflection, it is clear that Ulibarrí was correct in that, in academic circles at least, the American population of Hispanic origin has been overlooked for decades, and even centuries, by what some people call the “motherland”. Spanish interest in American economics and politics tended to focus on Latin American countries south of the Río Grande rather than in el norte (the United States). Until recently neither academics nor everyday citizens of Spain were interested in cultural expressions of Hispanics whose origins were north of Mexico. However, this situation of benign academic neglect has radically changed in recent years. Chicana/o authors, who are members of the largest subgroup of Hispanics in the United States, now are studied in many programs within newly reconfigured English Studies or American Studies in Spanish universities. Furthermore, the larger and more diverse Latina/o population which includes Mexican Americans/Chicanas/os is often studied within several social science programs in sociology, anthropology and sometimes history. The Spanish government has realized that Hispanic-origin populations in the United States constitute, at minimum, an important potential market for Spanish companies established in the United States, and is encouraging policy and legislation to promote and support initiatives aimed at those with whom they share a common language outside its own national borders.

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