Borderlands and Latino Studies Seminar: Micaela Diaz-Sanchez, Northwestern University, Olga Herrara, University of St. Thomas, and Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz, University of Illinois at Chicago

Friday, September 24, 2010

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.

“Post-Nationalist Topographies: Critical Nostalgia and Queer Diasporic Subjects in Chicana Cultural Production”
Micaela Diáz-Sánchez, Northwestern University

In this paper I conceptualize “critical nostalgia” in Cherríe Moraga’s “The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea” and Adelina Anthony’s “Mastering Sex and Tortillas.” Employing Moraga’s epic play and Anthony’s one-woman performance piece as discursive springboards, I explore the policing of gender and sexuality in narratives of Chicana/o nationalism and citizenship. Discussing the hegemonic pairing of heteronormativity and patriotism in post 9-11 United States I argue that the spaces crafted in both narratives function as sites for queer diasporic subjects to create and reconfigure “home.”

“Chicago is the Homeland: Representations of Place, Race, and Labor in Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia and Peel My Love Like an Onion
Olga Herrara, University of St. Thomas

This paper is part of a larger project in which I examine the ways in which canonical literary representations of Chicago, labor, and immigration have constructed a mythology of opportunity, and complicate this construction with Chicago Mexican narratives of racialization, transnational place, and citizenship. In “Chicago is the Homeland,” I argue that Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia and Peel My Love Like an Onion interrogate tropes of the racialized laboring body and the migrant worker in exile by imagining protagonists that use their bodies for the creation of art and in their transnational lives, are paradoxically always already at home.

“Illegals and Criminals: Categorical Inequality in a Post-Racial Era
Ruth Gomberg-Muñoz, University of Illinois at Chicago

In the United States, increasingly punitive and enforcement-oriented immigration policies have been legitimized by a rhetoric of criminality that stigmatizes Latino/a immigrant workers and intensifies their exploitation. In this paper, I draw on my ethnographic research with undocumented immigrants in the Chicago area to explore the implications of “illegalization” of large segments of the Latino/a immigrant population. In particular, I review the political production of “illegal aliens” and examine how criminalizing rhetoric is interpreted, reproduced, and resisted in the lives of undocumented immigrants in Chicago.

Commentator: Raúl Coronado, University of Chicago