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As both an idea and an institution, the family has been at the heart of Chicano/a cultural politics since the Mexican American civil rights movement emerged in the late 1960s. In Next of Kin, Richard T. Rodríguez explores the competing notions of la familia found in movement-inspired literature, film, video, music, painting, and other forms of cultural expression created by Chicano men. Drawing on cultural studies and feminist and queer theory, he examines representations of the family that reflect and support a patriarchal, heteronormative nationalism as well as those that reconfigure kinship to encompass alternative forms of belonging.
Describing how la familia came to be adopted as an organizing strategy for communitarian politics, Rodríguez looks at foundational texts including Rodolfo Gonzales’s well-known poem “I Am Joaquín,” the Chicano Liberation Youth Conference’s manifesto El Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, and José Armas’s La Familia de La Raza. Rodríguez analyzes representations of the family in the films I Am Joaquín, Yo Soy Chicano, and Chicana; the Los Angeles public affairs television series ¡Ahora!; the experimental videos of the artist-activist Harry Gamboa Jr.; and the work of hip-hop artists such as Kid Frost and Chicano Brotherhood. He reflects on homophobia in Chicano nationalist thought, and examines how Chicano gay men have responded to it in works including Al Lujan’s video S&M in the Hood, the paintings of Eugene Rodríguez, and a poem by the late activist Rodrigo Reyes. Next of Kin is both a wide-ranging assessment of la familia’s symbolic power and a hopeful call for a more inclusive cultural politics.
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"Next of Kin offers one of the most cogent articulations of Chicano/a cultural critique to date. Through elegant readings of a dynamic archive of Chicano literary and popular culture, Richard T. Rodríguez scrutinizes the cultural authority of the biological Chicano/a family, critiquing its exclusionary impulses and championing transformative reconfigurations of la familia. Along the way, he provides a nuanced consideration of Chicano/a political and cultural history."--José Esteban Muñoz, author of Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics
"A gorgeous tapestry of cultural forms and interpretive brilliance, Next of Kin reopens the debate over our conflicted understandings of la familia in light of the challenges produced by feminism and queer studies. A must-read for all those interested in Chicana and Chicano politics, fiction, film, photography, performance, and painting. Richard T. Rodríguez has given us a map with which to negotiate the twenty-first-century uses of the family."--George Mariscal, author of Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun: Lessons from the Chicano Movement, 1965-1975From the Back Cover:
"A gorgeous tapestry of cultural forms and interpretive brilliance, "Next of Kin" reopens the debate over our conflicted understandings of "la familia" in light of the challenges produced by feminism and queer studies. A must read for all those interested in Chicana and Chicano politics, fiction, film, photography, performance, and painting. Richard T. Rodriguez has given us a map with which to negotiate the twenty-first century uses of the family."--George Mariscal, author of "Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun: Lessons from the Chicano Movement, 1965-1975"
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