Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Central American Transits and Latino/a Becomings

Claudia Milian, Associate Professor, Spanish & Latin American Studies, Duke University

Tue, April 8, 2014 | BEN 2.104

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Central American Transits and Latino/a Becomings

This talk builds on literary representations of Central American migrations to the United States from fictional, journalistic, and autobiographical narratives thematizing the symbolic significance of civil conflict and the Cold War; stories of escape, mobility, illegality, and national/nonnational tensions; the formation of itinerant consciousness, citizenship, and American success. Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia (1994), Óscar Martínez’s The Beast: Riding the Rails and Dodging Narcos on the Migrant Trail (2013), and Evelyn Cortez-Davis’s December Sky: Beyond My Undocumented Life (2003) anchor this project’s analytic commitment to rethink Latino/a “origins” from an unconventional site of emergence: Central American abjection and deracination, one that spans vast North-“North” (U.S.-Mexico) and South-South panoramas (Mexico-Central America). What forges a Latino/a genealogy in these U.S.-Mesoamerican geographic and cultural routes and passing lines? What insights, frameworks, and negotiations do the aforementioned textualities—as larger forms of everyday conversations—offer for Latino/a worlds, if at all? The different locations and iterations of the Central American subject put new footing on our terms of engagement around the guiding principles of migration.

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