Ulla Berg: In this engaging volume Ulla D. Berg examines the conditions under which racialized Peruvians of rural and working-class origins leave the central highlands of Peru to migrate to the United States, how they fare, and what constrains their movement and their attempts to maintain meaningful social relations across borders. By exploring the ways in which migration is mediated between the Peruvian Andes and the United States—by documents, money, and images and objects in circulation—this book makes a major contribution to the documentation and theorization of the role of technology in fostering new forms of migrant sociality and subjectivity. In its focus on the forms of sociality and belonging that these mediations enable, the volume adds to key anthropological debates about affect, subjectivity, and sociality in today’s mobile world. It also makes significant contributions to studies of inequality in Latin America, showcasing the intersection of transnational mobility with structures and processes of exclusion in both national and global contexts.
Yarimar Bonilla: In Non-Sovereign Futures, Yarimar Bonilla wrestles with the conceptual arsenal of political modernity—challenging contemporary notions of freedom, sovereignty, nationalism, and revolution—in order to recast Guadeloupe not as a problematically non-sovereign site but as a place that can unsettle how we think of sovereignty itself. Through a deep ethnography of Guadeloupean labor activism, Bonilla examines how Caribbean political actors navigate the conflicting norms and desires produced by the modernist project of postcolonial sovereignty. Exploring the political and historical imaginaries of activist communities, she examines their attempts to forge new visions for the future by reconfiguring narratives of the past, especially the histories of colonialism and slavery. Drawing from nearly a decade of ethnographic research, she shows that political participation—even in failed movements—has social impacts beyond simple material or economic gains. Ultimately, she uses the cases of Guadeloupe and the Caribbean at large to offer a more sophisticated conception of the possibilities of sovereignty in the postcolonial era.
Carlos Decena: Tacit Subjects is a pioneering analysis of how gay immigrant men of color negotiate race, sexuality, and power in their daily lives. Drawing on ethnographic research with Dominicans in New York City, Carlos Ulises Decena explains that while the men who shared their life stories with him may self-identify as gay, they are not the liberated figures of traditional gay migration narratives. Decena contends that in migrating to Washington Heights, a Dominican enclave in New York, these men moved from one site to another within an increasingly transnational Dominican society. Many of them migrated and survived through the resources of their families and broader communities. Explicit acknowledgment or discussion of their homosexuality might rupture these crucial social and familial bonds. Yet some of Decena’s informants were sure that their sexuality was tacitly understood by their family members or others close to them. Analyzing their recollections about migration, settlement, masculinity, sex, and return trips to the Dominican Republic, Decena describes how the men at the center of Tacit Subjects contest, reproduce, and reformulate Dominican identity in New York. Their stories reveal how differences in class, race, and education shape their relations with fellow Dominicans. They also offer a view of “gay New York” that foregrounds the struggles for respect, belonging, and survival within a particular immigrant community.
Zaire Dinzey-Flores: In Locked In, Locked Out, Zaire Zenit Dinzey-Flores shows how such gates operate as physical and symbolic ways to distribute power, reroute movement, sustain social inequalities, and cement boundary lines of class and race across the city. In its exploration of four communities in Ponce—two private subdivisions and two public housing projects—Locked In, Locked Out offers one of the first ethnographic accounts of gated communities devised by and for the poor. Dinzey-Flores traces the proliferation of gates on the island from Spanish colonial fortresses to the New Deal reform movement of the 1940s and 1950s, demonstrating how urban planning practices have historically contributed to the current trend of community divisions, shrinking public city spaces, and privatizing gardens. Through interviews and participant observation, she argues that gates have transformed the twenty-first-century city by fostering isolation and promoting segregation, ultimately shaping the life chances of people from all economic backgrounds. Relevant and engaging, Locked In, Locked Out reveals how built environments can create a cartography of disadvantage—affecting those on both sides of the wall.
Tatiana Flores: Mexico’s Revolutionary Avant-Gardes provides a nuanced account of the early-20th-century moment that came to be known as the Mexican Renaissance, featuring an impressive range of artists and writers. Relying on extensive documentary research and previously unpublished archival materials, author Tatiana Flores expands the conventional history of Estridentismo by including its offshoot movement ¡30–30! and underscoring Mexico’s role in the broader development of modernism worldwide. Focusing on the interrelationship between art and literature, she illuminates the complexities of post-revolutionary Mexican art at a time when it was torn between formal innovation and social relevance.
Aldo Lauria-Santiago: To Rise in Darkness offers a new perspective on a defining moment in modern Central American history. In January 1932 thousands of indigenous and ladino (non-Indian) rural laborers, provoked by electoral fraud and the repression of strikes, rose up and took control of several municipalities in central and western El Salvador. Within days the military and civilian militias retook the towns and executed thousands of people, most of whom were indigenous. This event, known as la Matanza (the massacre), has received relatively little scholarly attention. In To Rise in Darkness, Jeffrey L. Gould and Aldo A. Lauria-Santiago investigate memories of the massacre and its long-term cultural and political consequences.
Kathleen Lopez: In a comprehensive, vibrant history that draws deeply on Chinese- and Spanish-language sources in both China and Cuba, Kathleen López explores the transition of the Chinese from indentured to free migrants, the formation of transnational communities, and the eventual incorporation of the Chinese into the Cuban citizenry during the first half of the twentieth century. Chinese Cubans shows how Chinese migration, intermarriage, and assimilation are central to Cuban history and national identity during a key period of transition from slave to wage labor and from colony to nation. On a broader level, López draws out implications for issues of race, national identity, and transnational migration, especially along the Pacific rim.
Nelson Maldonado-Torres: In 2011, the Universidad de la Tierra in Chiapas, México, collected some of Maldonado-Torres’s essays on decolonial theory in this anthology. The essays included in this compilation deal with the current validity of decolonialization, and develop the idea of a decolonial turn. Maldonado Torres argues that the decolonial attitude as well as the reason are fundamental parts of what is here presented as decolonial turn, which proposes that decolonialization (and not modernity) is a project that is not yet accomplished on a global level.
Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel: Coloniality of Diasporas reinterprets migrations within former or current colonial circuits as central to the articulation of Anglo, French and Spanish Caribbean narratives from the seventeenth century to the present. Focusing on piracy in the seventeenth century, filibustering in the nineteenth century, intracolonial migrations in the 1930s, metropolitan racializations in the 1950s and 1960s, and feminist redefinitions of creolization and sexile from the 1940s to the 1990s, this book redefines the Caribbean beyond the postcolonial debate.
Michelle Stephens: In Skin Acts, Michelle Ann Stephens explores the work of four iconic twentieth-century black male performers—Bert Williams, Paul Robeson, Harry Belafonte, and Bob Marley—to reveal how racial and sexual difference is both marked by and experienced in the skin. She situates each figure within his cultural moment, examining his performance in the context of contemporary race relations and visual regimes. Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalysis and performance theory, Stephens contends that while black skin is subject to what Frantz Fanon called the epidermalizing and hardening effects of the gaze, it is in the flesh that other—intersubjective, pre-discursive, and sensuous—forms of knowing take place between artist and audience. Analyzing a wide range of visual, musical, and textual sources, Stephens shows that black subjectivity and performativity are structured by the tension between skin and flesh, sight and touch, difference and sameness.
Camilla Stephens: Magdalena Mondragón, Dolores Prida, Patricia Ariza y Susana Torres Molina dramatizan el papel de género y la identidad nacional en distintos países, momentos históricos y contextos socioculturales. El mundo perdido (México D.F., 1951) de Mondragón, Bótanica (Nueva York, 1991) de Prida, Luna menguante (Cali-Bogotá, 1994) de Ariza y Esa extraña forma de pasión (Buenos Aires, 2010) de Torres Molina presentan a la mujer frente a la cultura dominante en diversos escenarios dramáticos: el paraíso bíblico, un barrio latino de Nueva York, una casa familiar latinoamericana y Argentina durante y después de la "Guerra Sucia." Son obras que iluminan las tendencias feministas más destacadas de las Américas con relación a las filosofías de Simone de Beauvoir, Rosario Castellanos, Judith Butler, Gloria Anzaldúa y Francesca Gargallo. La Eva rebelde de Mondragón, la estudiante bilingüe/ bicultural de Prida, las amas de casa enajenadas de Ariza y la activista política de Torres Molina representan algunas de las identidades femeninas reinventadas por el teatro escrito por mujeres latinoamericanas desde 1951 hasta nuestros días.