Submission Date

7-21-2016

Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access

Department

Modern Languages (Spanish)

Faculty Mentor

Xochitl Shuru

Comments

Presented during the 18th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 22, 2016 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Today the people of the United States find themselves in the midst of a campaign with aims to improve the country—to “Make America Great Again.” At the core of these efforts is the elimination of Latino immigrants and the building of a wall to ensure their exclusion. Through this discourse, Latinos are constructed as “others” who are inherently different from “us,” the “Americans.” However, in a country where Latino immigrants comprise a large percentage of the population and Latino culture suffuses the preexisting dominant one, the strong anti-Latino rhetoric begs the question of who we all are as Americans. Mike Davis, in Magical Urbanism, provides us with insight to this question; he argues that Latinos “can be the ones who teach America how to be American” because of their understanding of borders and hybridity (Anzaldúa, introduction). This project examines the posit made by Davis—that Latinos can teach America how to be Americans—through the lens of US-Latino immigration literature. The use of literature that describes the immigration experience in the United States, through the varied perspectives of Latino authors, is integral to effectively analyze this conjecture because it gives power to the experiences of these writers, and therefore legitimizes their experiences as people of the United States. Ultimately, this project aims to demonstrate that the study of US-Latino immigration literature can teach us “how to be American” by confronting the borders that exist within and around us all as people living in the United States.

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