• Traveling Borderlands and Travesía Hermeneutics in Sandra Cisneros’s Caramelo

    Author(s):
    Francisco Robles (see profile)
    Date:
    2015
    Group(s):
    LLC Chicana and Chicano
    Subject(s):
    American literature, Latin American literature
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6988Q
    Abstract:
    In this paper, I use Sandra Cisneros’s /Caramelo/ (2002) to examine the “traveling borderlands” in Mexican American migrant narratives. Traveling borderlands names the aesthetic and existential practice of creating contingent home spaces that contest paradigms of fragmentation and essentialism, the former often taken to be a defining feature of marginalized identity and the latter often seen as a tactic of resisting marginalization. In defining these traveling borderlands, I use Gloria Anzaldúa’s work to model an interpretive praxis that I call “travesía hermeneutics,” in which we understand the position of the artist (and also the depicted subject, if it applies) as mobilized and moving, thus unsettling her artistic and narrative authority in favor of a more horizontal relationship between herself and the people she represents in the novel. Using travesía hermeneutics, I argue that Cisneros’s Caramelo articulates traveling borderlands as an idea of emplacement that offers us a mode of being in the world that moves otherwise than ideologies of essentialized or inescapable marginality. What we encounter in /Caramelo/ is a political and ethical challenge to unsettle ourselves along with the author, and in so doing, to explore new methods of creating space for dialogue with others. These intriguing, experimental dialogues suggest new relationships in and to the margins, thus surveying the possibilities represented by marginal identities and mobile sociality.
    Metadata:
    Status:
    Published
    License:
    Attribution-NoDerivatives

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