Schemien, Alexia

Of Virgins, Curanderas, and Wrestler Saints

Un/Doing Religion in Contemporary Mexican American Literature

 


Religion and spirituality have long held a prominent position in Mexican American literature. The complex interplay of indigenous practices and colonial Catholicism, which developed after the Spanish conquest, also deeply affects Latino cultures in the United States. This study proposes that religion is not only a significant aspect of Mexican American literature but that it needs to be understood as a discourse that underlies other discourses on race, gender, and class and therefore structures Mexican American culture and literature in a way that is subversive and powerful. In this book, an interdisciplinary approach to inter-American studies, discourse analysis, theories on religion and spirituality, as well as Mexican American culture and literature reveals the interconnectedness of the borderlands and religion. Of Virgins, Curanderas, and Wrestler Saints provides close-readings of works by Ana Castillo, Carmen Tafolla, Luis Alberto Urrea, Richard Rodriguez, Salvador Plascencia, and others to illustrate the notion of "un/doing religion."

"The study by Alexia Schemien offers a wealth of insights into Mexican American spirituality unlike anything we have seen before. The approach to such a complex subject is masterfully achieved, thanks to a nuanced critical interdisciplinary lens that encompasses elements from a history of convergence, a hybrid spirituality, an unrelenting myth, a border of crossroads, and a transnationalism of postmodernity. A carefully formulated theoretical paradigm is constructed to address Chicano literature by explaining both the pretext and background of certain texts along with their creative impulse. This sweeping analytical method of "un/doing" religion opens up immense possibilities in order to better understand the underpinnings of spirituality in literature."

Francisco A. Lomelí

Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara
Member of the North American Academy of the Spanish Language

Contents (PDF)

 


ISBN 978-3-86821-724-7, 218 S., kt., € 27,50 (2018)

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