Latino Studies Américo Paredes
by
Ilan Stavans, Derek Xavier García
  • LAST MODIFIED: 15 January 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0094

Introduction

Américo Paredes (b. 1915–d. 1999) was considered to be one of the foremost Mexican American scholars of the 20th century. Having influenced an entire generation of Chicano scholars—such as José E. Limón, David Montejano and Ramón Saldívar—he is one of the forerunners of Chicano studies. A self-described “proto-Chicano,” he was born in Brownsville, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley. Fascinated with the border tales and ballads of his youth, Paredes soon began to write poetry. During the Great Depression, he worked as a writer for a local newspaper. In 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Japan as a journalist for Stars and Stripes and the Mexican newspaper, El Universal. After he was discharged, he served with the American Red Cross and traveled across Asia. When he returned from Japan, Paredes enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin where he acquired his doctorate degree at the age of forty-one. In 1957, he began to teach at the University of Texas at Austin. The next year, his doctoral dissertation, With a Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and its Hero, was published. An analysis of a popular corrido, the book expands several genres, presenting a folkloric, ethnographic, and sociocultural study of South Texas Mexicans. During his time at the University of Texas, Paredes was instrumental in furthering scholarship in folklore and Mexican American studies. He successfully founded the Center for Intercultural Studies for Folklore and Musicology in 1967 and cofounded the Center for Mexican American Studies in 1970. He continued to publish studies on border folklore, such as A Texas-Mexican Cancionero: Folksongs of the Lower Border in 1976, and Folklore and Culture of the Texas-Mexican Border in 1992. He received numerous accolades during his lifetime, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 and the Charles Frankel Prize from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1989. A year later, he was awarded the Orden del Aguila Azteca from the Mexican government, the highest honor afforded to foreign citizens. In 1991, he received the Orden de José de Escandón. In his later life, Paredes began to publish the Creative Works he originally wrote during his adolescence and time abroad. Some of these include George Washington Gómez (1990) and The Hammon and the Beans (1994). Paredes’s works concerning border life have become the focal point for numerous scholars wanting to research folklore and the Mexican American experience.

Historical Antecedents and Influences

Although Américo Paredes was probably the first widely recognized Chicano author in the United States, he was not the first Mexican American scholar to study folk songs or the Mexican American condition. Mexican and American scholars influenced his work. Espinosa 1990 and Campa 1946 both study Mexican Americans in the American Southwest, analyzing ballads and folklore, but differ in their views of the origins of that folklore. Espinosa holds that folklore in the Southwest is fundamentally Spanish while Campa argues that it is of expressly Mexican origin. González 2006 is remarkable because it presents a historical background of the lower Rio Grande Valley and offers an analysis of the people of the area. Mendoza 1954, which laid the groundwork for further corrido research in the United States, preceded Paredes in corrido study. Thompson 1955–1958 provided Paredes with an extensive classification of folk narratives that helped him categorize Mexican American folklore.

  • Campa, Arthur L. Spanish Folk-Poetry in New Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1946.

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    An analysis of folk music from New Mexico in the 1940s. The work also includes a history of Spanish balladry.

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  • Espinosa, Aurelio M. The Folklore of Spain in the American Southwest: Traditional Spanish Folk Literature in New Mexico and Southern Colorado. Edited by J. Manuel Espinosa. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990.

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    Published jointly with a biography by J. Manuel Espinosa, son of Aurelio M. Espinoza. The latter part of the book, written by Aurelio, deals with the origins of Spanish folk customs in New Mexico and Colorado. Excellent resource of folk tales, ballads, and proverbs from the region.

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  • González, Jovita. Life Along the Border: A Landmark Tejana Thesis. Edited by María Eugenia Cotera. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2006.

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    Originally published as a masters thesis for the University of Texas, this text provides an excellent historical background to Américo Paredes’s homeland, the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Furthermore, it offers a valuable female perspective and critique of the society Paredes studied.

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  • Mendoza, Vicente T. El corrido mexicano. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1954.

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    Written by one of the foremost corrido scholars, this is an anthology of Mexican corridos.

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  • Thompson, Stith. Motif-Index of Folk-Literature; A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux, Jest-Books, and Local Legends. 6 vols. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1955–1958.

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    The seminal work from one of the most influential American folklorists of the 20th century presents an exhaustive catalogue of folk narrative themes complete with a bibliography to many of these narratives. Originally developed by Finnish folklorist Antti Aarne in 1910.

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Creative Works

Américo Paredes’s creative works vary in scope and topic. His most elaborated upon work in literary studies is Paredes 1990a. Paredes 2007, his first collection of poetry, depicts his life as a Mexican American. His second collection of poems is in Paredes 1991. He depicts border life in several short stories in Paredes 1994. In Paredes 1998, he writes about communal life across the border in Mexico. Paredes 1990b gives a record of Paredes’s opinion of Mexican scholarship about Mexican-Americans.

  • Paredes, Américo. George Washington Gómez: A Mexicotexan Novel. Houston, TX: Arte Público, 1990a.

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    Originally written in 1939, this book was not published until 1990. Set from the early 1900s to the late 1930s, it tells the story of George Washington Gómez, who grapples with his identity during a time of cultural conflict on the Texas-Mexico border.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Acceptance Speech.” In Américo Paredes, 1915–1999. Benson Latin American Collection, General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin, 1990b.

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    Presented during the Aguila Azteca Awards Ceremony, 20 November 1990, this is a provocative piece where Paredes directs criticism toward Mexican academia’s characterization of Mexican-Americans. Most explicitly, he directly addresses Octavio Paz’s El laberinto de la soledad (New York: Penguin, 1997) as one of the main propagators of the aforementioned stereotype.

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  • Paredes, Américo. Between Two Worlds. Houston, TX: Arte Público, 1991.

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    A collection of poems that were saved from his youth by Paredes. The work includes several poems published in Paredes 2007, however it presents other examples that had not been published. Furthermore, it includes poetry written during his latter life from 1945 to 1970.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “The Hammon and the Beans” and Other Stories. Houston, TX: Arte Público, 1994.

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    Contains an introduction by Ramón Saldívar that situates Paredes’s creative output within a transnational view of history and culture. The collection includes short stories written by Américo Paredes from the mid-1940s to approximately 1953.

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  • Paredes, Américo. The Shadow. Houston, TX: Arte Público, 1998.

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    Américo Paredes’ last published book tells the story of Antonio Cuitla and his small ranching community. The book deals with the clash of superstition and modernity in the postrevolutionary Mexico of the early 1900s.

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  • Paredes, Américo. Cantos de Adolescencia: Songs of Youth. Translated by B. V. Olguín and Omar Vásquez Barbosa. Houston, TX: Arte Público, 2007.

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    Originally published in 1937, this book presents the poems written by Paredes when he was seventeen to twenty-one years old. Provides photographs of personal notes written by Paredes, along with several photocopies of his published work from local newspapers.

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General Folklore

During his work at the University of Texas in Austin in the 1950s and 1970s, Paredes was known for his conception of “folklore as a performance” and his scholarship regarding Folk Balladry. The most comprehensive collection of his essays regarding folklore theory can be found in Paredes 1993a. Interested in providing a voice to minorities, he states that folklore can be an important source of culture in Paredes 1961. This is why he publishes an extensive study of Mexican folklore and performance in Paredes 1970. Paredes 1993b provides an excellent source of jokes and short stories collected from the Texas-Mexico border. In comparison to these aforementioned works, Paredes 1963 focuses on American folklore, such as folk ballads and the iconography of the American cowboy. Using his musicological background, he advocates a literary viewpoint when studying folk poetry in Paredes 1964. He takes a look at the notion of machismo in Mexican folklore in Paredes 1966. Dedicated to resolving the ideological differences between folklorists, he wrote and edited several works debating the common challenges folklore studies had at the time in Paredes 1969.

  • Paredes, Américo. “Folklore and History.” In Singers and Storytellers. Edited by Mody C. Boatright, Wilson M. Hudson, and Allen Maxwell, 56–68. Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1961.

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    In this piece Paredes presents the framework for his study of folklore. He contends that although folklore may be circumstantial, at times it can provide an important source of history and popular thought for certain peoples where no official documents exist.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “El cowboy norteamericano en el folklore y la literatura.” Cuadernos del Instituto Nacional de Antropología 4 (1963): 227–240.

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    Presents a brief history of the American cowboy. Delves into a debate about whether the mythic vision of the cowboy can be considered folklore. In Spanish.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Some Aspects of Folk Poetry.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 6.2 (1964): 213–225.

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    One of Paredes’s most seminal works where he argues for the use of literary criticism in analyzing folk poetry. Very technical, it describes the structure and metrics of several folk poems. Furthermore, Paredes highlights the importance of framing folk poetry as performance; taking into account who performed it and where. Republished in Paredes 1993a.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “The Anglo-American in Mexican Folklore.” In New Voices in American Studies. Edited by Ray B. Browne, Donald M. Winkelman, and Allen Hayman, 113–127. Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1966.

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    Details the evolution of the perception of the white American in Mexican folklore, and also focuses on Mexican machismo and the perception of American women. Paredes bases his study mostly on prose narrative but includes some examples of song (corrido).

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Concepts about Folklore in Latin America and the United States.” Journal of the Folklore Institute 6.1 (1969): 20–38.

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    A survey of Latin American folkloric thought with a comparison to the United States. Presents an insightful view of the challenges that faced folklore studies in the United States at the time. Brings up the question of the viability of studying urban folklore.

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  • Paredes, Américo, ed. and trans. Folktales of Mexico. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970.

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    A comprehensive collection of Mexican folk narratives, anecdotes, and jokes collected from central Mexico and the northern border of Mexico and Texas. Provides a brief synopsis of the regionalism present in Mexican folklore and its Spanish indigenous roots.

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  • Paredes, Américo. Folklore and Culture on the Texas-Mexican Border. Edited by Richard Bauman. Austin: Center for Mexican American Studies, University of Texas at Austin, 1993a.

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    A collection of various essays written by Paredes that cover border décimas, corridos, and the notion of folklore as performance. Includes two texts mentioned in this bibliography, namely Paredes 1964 and Paredes 1977, cited under Race Relations. Includes a bibliography of his scholarly work through 1993.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Uncle Remus” con chile. Houston, TX: Arte Público, 1993b.

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    A short collection of Mexican and Mexican American folk short stories and jokes.

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Race Relations

One of Paredes’s goals as a folklorist was eliminating the racial bias that existed in previous studies of Mexicans in Texas. As such, his papers, Paredes 1961, Paredes 1963, Paredes 1968, Paredes 1977, and Paredes 1982 aim to show how Anglo-American folklorists depicted Mexican stereotypes in their studies, and to reverse these claims. In addition to studying how Anglo-Americans view Mexicans and vice versa, Paredes takes a look at how Mexicans consider themselves in Paredes 1967 and Paredes 1971. He uses the border as a focal point for cultural contact and exchange in Paredes 1976.

  • Paredes, Américo. “On Gringo, Greaser and Other Neighborly Names.” In Singers and Storytellers. Edited by Mody C. Boatright, Wilson M. Hudson, and Allen Maxwell, 285–290. Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1961.

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    A brief but enlightening etymology of the term gringo. Based on his research of folk songs, gringo became a term of reproach between 1910 and 1930. Paredes later touches on the term “greaser” and states that these racial epithets were used to denote a physical characteristic of a people.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Texas’ Third Man: The Texas-Mexican.” Race and Class 4.2 (1963): 49–58.

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    In this straightforward piece, Paredes highlights the discrimination against Mexican Americans in Texas. He states that the socioeconomic and political situation in Texas prevents Mexican Americans from bettering their social situation. However he also recognizes what he feels is the lack of action taken by Mexican Americans to bring about any change to their predicament.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Estados Unidos, México y el machismo.” Journal of Inter-American Studies 9.1 (1967): 65–84.

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    Paredes offers an historical account into the origins of machismo in Mexico. According to Paredes, machismo “does not appear in Mexican folklore until recent times” (p. 71). He then goes on to compare the phenomenon with American folklore and literature, and finds that both cultures share many similarities regarding its symbolism and meaning. In Spanish.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Tributaries to the Mainstream: The Ethnic Groups.” In Our Living Traditions: An Introduction to American Folklore. Edited by Tristram P. Coffin, 70–80. New York: Basic Books, 1968.

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    A brief introductory text describing folklore methodology and discipline when studying minorities in the United States. Uses Mexican Americans as an example of how folk traditions react to the hegemonic culture of Anglo-America.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Mexican Legendry and the Rise of the Mestizo.” In American Folk Legend: A Symposium. Edited by Wayland D. Hand, 97–107. Publications of the UCLA Center for the Study of Comparative Folklore and Mythology 2. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971.

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    Paredes attempts to show the historical formation and evolution of the concept of mestizo through an analysis of several popular Mexican legends.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “The Role of Folklore in Border Relations and How It Expressed Intercultural Conflict and Cooperation.” Paper presented at a Fronteras conference in San Diego, California on 17 November, 1976. In San Diego/Tijuana–The International Border in Community Relations: Gateway or Barrier? Edited by Kiki Slagen, 17–22. San Diego, CA: Fronteras, 1976.

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    Paredes states that folklore studies of humor can provide an excellent source for an understanding of boundaries.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “On Ethnographic Work among Minority Groups: A Folklorist’s Perspective.” New Scholar 6.2 (1977): 1–32.

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    An important summary of Paredes’s view of participant observation and fieldwork and a terse criticism of Anglo ethnographies of Mexican Americans. Presents many examples where Anglo-American studies failed to understand and translate the Spanish of the participants. Lists examples where subjects perform specific life-stories for the interviewer rather than presenting a general perspective about their culture. Reprinted in Paredes 1993a, cited under General Folklore.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “Folklore, Lo Mexicano, and Proverbs.” Aztlán 13.13 (1982): 1–11.

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    Mentions the importance of studying dichos -sayings- in folklore as a telling behavior of a people. He stresses that the values of dichos aren’t understood until their verbal and performance contexts are known. By providing this context Paredes shows that some dichos do not necessarily reflect negative stereotypes about Mexicans.

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Folk Balladry

As a folk scholar, Paredes was interested in popular expressions of culture, such as music and songs. Therefore, his studies tend to focus on folk ballads of the American Southwest and of the lower Rio Grande valley of south Texas. Several examples of this can be found in Paredes 1959. His discussion of border forms of folk song can be found in his papers regarding ballads and décimas (Paredes 1953, Paredes and Foss 1966, and Paredes 1976).

  • Paredes, Américo. “The Love Tragedy in Texas-Mexican Balladry.” In Folk Traveler: Ballads, Tales and Talk. Edited by Mody C. Boatright, Wilson M. Hudson, and Allen Maxwell, 110–114. Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1953.

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    A brief discourse about community dance in the lower Rio Grande Valley border area. “Dance-and-brawl” ballads are not native to this area but originate from Coahuila and Jalisco.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “The Bury-Me-Not Theme in the Southwest.” In And Horns on the Toads. Edited by Mody C. Boatright, Wilson M. Hudson, and Allen Maxwell, 88–92. Publications of the Texas Folklore Society 29. Dallas, TX: Southern Methodist University Press, 1959.

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    An insightful look into the similarities and differences between American and Mexican “bury-me-not” ballad motifs of the American Southwest. Using Aurelio Espinosa’s research into Spanish ballads in the Southwest, Paredes traces a concise genealogical history explaining the origins of the “bury me not in hallowed ground” theme from medieval Spain to the Mexican cowboys of the American Southwest.

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  • Paredes, Américo. A Texas-Mexican Cancionero: Folksongs of the Lower Border. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976.

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    A comprehensive songbook that includes many popular historical Mexican folk-songs of South Texas. Separated by theme, Paredes includes a brief contextual analysis before each section.

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  • Paredes, Américo, and George Foss. “The Décima Cantada on the Texas-Mexican Border: Four Examples.” Journal of the Folklore Institute 3.2 (1966): 91–115.

    DOI: 10.2307/3814049Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    An in-depth study of the history and form of the border décima. Focuses mainly on the varieties of the way it can be sung; Paredes and Foss argue that while its rigid form may inhibit change, its performance offers a chance at creativity for the singer.

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Corrido Scholarship

Paredes is perhaps most well-known for his work on corridos. His early works are close readings discussing the development and meaning of specific corrido traditions, such as are discussed in Paredes 1958a and Paredes 2012. His most important work is his ethnographic study of the Corrido de Gregorio Cortez, which appears in Paredes 1958b. Paredes 1963 discusses the origins of the corrido in Mexico. Contrary to other scholarship at the time, like the work of Merle E. Simmons, Paredes believed that the corrido first appeared in the 1860s.

  • Paredes, Américo. “‘El Corrido de José Mosqueda’ as an Example of Pattern in the Ballad.” Western Folklore 17.3 (1958a): 154–162.

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    An analysis of how authors of corridos may choose formal song pattern over narrative accuracy when composing a ballad. Presents a close reading of the Corrido de José Mosqueda as such an example.

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  • Paredes, Américo. With a Pistol in His Hand: A Border Ballad and Its Hero. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1958b.

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    Paredes’s best-known work, this is a study of one of the most popular border corridos of South Texas. Using a novel approach at the time, Paredes studies historical sources along with oral tradition to present an ethnographic and sociological perspective of the inhabitants of the lower Rio Grande Valley.

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  • Paredes, Américo. “The Ancestry of Mexico’s Corridos: A Matter of Definitions.” The Journal of American Folklore 76.301 (1963): 231–235.

    DOI: 10.2307/538524Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This is a response to an article by Merle E. Simmons that stated that corridos were not original to Mexico, but rather could be found in other parts of Latin America. Paredes argues that the corrido grew out of the décima traditions in Mexico and became a distinct tradition in the 1860s.

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  • Paredes, Américo, and María Herrera Sobek. “The Corrido: An Invited Lecture at the ‘Music in Culture’ Public Lecture Series.” The Journal of American Folklore 125.495 (2012): 23–44.

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    A general overview of the history of the corrido. Paredes presents its various structures and influences as well as its development.

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Biographies and Personal Accounts

There have been many biographies about the life and academic career of Américo Paredes, most of which have been elegiac and underscore his influence in academia. Medrano 2010, Lopez-Morín 2005, and Lopez-Morín 2006 provide such a discussion. The most objective and concise biography of his life can be found in Stavans 2011. Abrahams 2005 provides an insider’s perspective of the challenges Paredes faced at the University of Texas. A more personal look at Paredes can be viewed in Paredes, et al. 2000. The Américo Paredes Papers at the Nettie Lee Benson Library at the University of Texas at Austin provide many personal notes and correspondence from his career. Zamora 2002 gives the best overview of the collection.

The “Asian Américo” Debate

Probably the most debated aspect of Américo Paredes’s career, with two former pupils of Paredes discussing whether his travels in Asia fueled his perspective on intercultural relations. Saldívar 2006 is the work that first mentions the notion of a “transnational imaginary” where Paredes’s views of subaltern cultures in Asia, like Japan, greatly influenced his understanding of the relationship between Mexican American and American cultures. Limón 2008 is a direct response, refuting Saldívar’s premise and finding the connection between Japan and Mexico to be weak. Saldívar 2009 is a continuation of this argument, citing Paredes’s notion of “Greater Mexico” and presenting a more detailed response to Limón’s questions. Limón 2009 is an assertion that there is no evidence to support Saldívar’s claims, and Limón 2012 is a much more fleshed-out development of this earlier response.

  • Limón, José E. “Border Literary Histories, Globalization, and Critical Regionalism.” American Literary History 20.1 (2008): 160–182.

    DOI: 10.1093/alh/ajm056Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A critique of Ramón Saldívar and José David Saldívar’s works concerning transnational literary theory applied to the U.S.-Mexico border area. See Saldívar 2006 and Saldívar 1997, cited under Border Studies. With regard to Saldívar 2006, Limón finds his theory of a transnational link between Japan and South Texas to be tenuous at best.

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  • Limón, José E. “Imagining the Imaginary: A Reply to Ramón Saldívar.” American Literary History 21.3 (2009): 595–603.

    DOI: 10.1093/alh/ajp025Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A riposte to Saldívar 2009, in which Limón continues to find Saldívar’s argument unpersuasive and based on “creative conjecture” (p. 599), claiming that there is little or no factual evidence concerning the influence of Asia in Paredes’s scholarly and creative writing.

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  • Limón, José E. Américo Paredes: Culture and Critique. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2012.

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    A work that evaluates academic treatments of Paredes oeuvre. Limón states that Paredes’s studies on Folk Balladry and jokes “merit critical evaluation” (p. 6). Also presents a look at Paredes’s career as a public intellectual and his relationship to contemporary Chicano/Chicana scholarship, along with a much more defined and in-depth analysis of his earlier criticisms of Saldívar 2006 and Saldívar 2009.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. The Borderlands of Culture: Américo Paredes and the Transnational Imaginary. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

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    Analyzes the corpus of Américo Paredes’s scholarly and creative output and postulates that his time abroad in Asia indelibly influenced his view of international relations between hegemonic cultures.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. “Asian Américo: Paredes in Asia and the Borderlands: A Response to José E. Limón.” American Literary History 21.3 (2009): 584–594.

    DOI: 10.1093/alh/ajp023Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A direct response to Limón 2008, where Saldívar defends his transnational approach to American literary studies and the parallels to postwar Japan and the Mexico-Texas border. He mentions Paredes’s conception of a “Greater Mexico” indifferent to borders as evidence of a transnational view of culture and Paredes’s nuanced view of Asian cultures to influence his thought on South Texas.

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Modernism

Many academics have found that Paredes’s Creative Works such as George Washington Gómez (1990) involve characteristics of modernist and postmodern thought. In Saldívar 1993a, the author states that the issue of Mexican American identity dealt with in George Washington Gómez and Between Two Worlds best exemplifies this quality. He continues this line of thought in Saldívar 1993b by framing Paredes’s modernism through a Chicano lens. Saldívar 1995 builds on this previous work by comparing subject formation in the works of Paredes and William Faulkner. Schedler 2013 also delves into such a comparison and describes similarities in Paredes’s treatment of social issues with Willa Cather and Ernest Hemingway. González 2009 discusses the relationship of George Washington Gómez to the undermining of traditional social structures and identity.

  • González, John Morán. “A Mexico-Texan Interlude: Américo Paredes, Border Modernity, and the Demise of Patriarchal Anticolonialism” In Border Renaissance: The Texas Centennial and the Emergence of Mexican American Literature. 127–156. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2009.

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    As in Schedler 2013, the author focuses on the issue of modernity in Paredes 1990a, cited under Creative Works. The author presents an in-depth focus of “modernist aesthetics” with regard to the dissolution of the protagonist’s identity and the undermining of the traditional patriarchy of south Texas.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. “Bordering on Modernity: Américo Paredes’ ‘Between Two Worlds’ and the Imagining of Utopian Social Space.” Stanford Humanities Review 3.1 (1993a): 54–66.

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    A brief look at the relationship between Paredes 1990a and Paredes 1991, both cited under Creative Works, and their theme of Mexican American identity and the relationship an individual has in relation to their homeland. Saldívar contends that these two works exemplify aspects of postmodern writing, despite the fact they were written fifty years before the movement.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. “Lyrical Borders: Modernity, the Nations and Narratives of Chicano Subject Formation.” Narrative 1.1 (1993b): 36–44.

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    A close reading of Paredes 1991, cited under Creative Works, within a modernist perspective.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. “Looking for a Master Plan: Faulkner, Paredes, and the Colonial and Postcolonial Subject.” In The Cambridge Companion to William Faulkner. Edited by Philip Weinstein, 96–120. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

    DOI: 10.1017/CCOL0521420636Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A discussion of “George Washington Gómez,” Paredes 1990a, cited under Creative Works; Here it is compared to the modernist novel Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! The author states that both writers are linked by subject formation with respect to race and class issues.

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  • Schedler, Christopher. “Américo Paredes Ethnographic Modernism.” In Border Modernism. By Christopher Schedler, 107–123. New York: Routledge, 2013.

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    An analysis of Paredes 1990a, cited under Creative Works, in relation to literary modernism. According to the author, the novel’s characterization and treatment of border social issues shares similarities with modernist writers like Willa Cather and Ernest Hemingway. Links the decline of the corrido to the pressures of a modern world encroaching on the border.

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Border Studies

Much like in Paredes’s academic career, the border has been a site of contention and study for many scholars in what is called “Border Studies.” Common topics concerning the border usually revolve around race, class relations, intercultural dialogue, and conflict. Those are topics mentioned in Pérez 1998 when discussing Paredes’s George Washington Gómez (1990). Saldívar 1991 and Saldívar 1997 also deal with Race Relations. The notion of a “transnational” context appears in Saldívar 1995. Rosaldo 1987 critiques Paredes’s border conception of a patriarchal society. Meanwhile Douglas 2009 places Paredes’s border literature within a larger minority tradition of the United States.

  • Douglas, Christopher. “Américo Paredes and the Folklore of the Border.” In A Genealogy of Literary Multiculturalism. Edited by Christopher Douglas, 158–183. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2009.

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    Douglas attempts to frame Paredes within the larger purview of multicultural literature of the United States. States that Paredes worked within a Boasian view of culture. Compares Paredes to other contemporary minority writers of the time.

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  • Pérez, Héctor. “Voicing Resistance on the Border: A Reading of Américo Paredes’ ‘George Washington Gómez.’” MELUS: The Journal of the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States 23.1 (1998): 27–48.

    DOI: 10.2307/467761Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A poststructural analysis of Paredes 1990a, cited under Creative Works, that delves into a discussion of the economic climate of the setting of the novel, the political climate of Mexico, changing notions of class and gender, and the rising tensions between US and Mexican hegemony on the Texas-Mexican border.

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  • Rosaldo, Renato. “Politics, Patriarchs, and Laughter.” Cultural Critique 6 (1987): 65–86.

    DOI: 10.2307/1354256Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A comparison between authors Américo Paredes and Ernesto Galarza that serves as a critique to Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of “minor literature.” Rosaldo points out the incongruities of applying this theory to Chicano writers. He states that Paredes works within a patriarchal mythic framework that endows males to combat prejudice.

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  • Saldívar, José David. “Chicano Border Narratives as Cultural Critique.” In Criticism in the Borderlands: Studies in Chicano Literature, Culture, and Ideology. Edited by Héctor Calderon, José David Saldívar, and Rolando Hinojosa, 167–180. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822382355-017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Deals with Paredes 1958b, cited under Corrido Scholarship, Anglo-American traditional history of Texas Mexicans.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. “Border Subjects and Transitional Sites: Américo Paredes’s ‘The Hammon and the Beans’ and Other Stories.” In Subjects and Citizens: Nation, Race, and Gender from Oroonoko to Anita Hill. Edited by Michael Moon and Cathy N. Davidson, 373–394. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1995.

    DOI: 10.1215/9780822382393Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Places Paredes 1994, cited under Creative Works, within a transnational context. Argues that the narrative focus in Paredes’s works creates a discourse for analyzing the construction of subaltern identities within a developing social space.

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  • Saldívar, José D. “Américo Paredes and Decolonization.” In Border Matters: Remapping American Cultural Studies. Edited by José D. Saldívar, 36–56. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

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    A reverse-chronological study of Américo Paredes’s ethnographic and creative work. The author attempts to frame Paredes’s oeuvre as a critique of United States imperialism.

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Influence on Folklore Studies

A few of these citations present a positive retrospective on Paredes’s influence in folklore studies and laud his methodology as ahead of his time. The best general introduction to Paredes’s contributions to folklore ballad study can be seen in Limón 2007. Bauman 2012 highlights studies of the border décima. Stinson 1998 denotes the importance of Paredes’s focus on the border to folklore study. Handelman 2002 also briefly mentions how Paredes challenged the Anglo-American majority view of folklore studies. Nájera-Ramírez 2012 attempts to highlight his contribution to folklore within Latin American and Mexican scholarship. The rest of the citations deal with applying newer concepts and methods to Paredes’s thinking. Briggs 2012 frames Paredes’s “folklore as performance” within the “notion of communicability” (p. 92). Lipsitz and Rodríguez 2012 applies a Foucaldian analysis of power relations in a border context and Stoeltje 2012 views the similarities and changes to Paredes’s conception of the cowboy when compared to an early 21st century rodeo performer.

Influence on Chicano Studies

Most scholarship that deals with Paredes and Chicano studies paints a positive view of the scholar’s contributions to the topic. Leal 2007 lauds Paredes’s work and provides a general overview of his scholarly work and accomplishments in Chicano studies. Saldívar 1990 draws links from Paredes’s study of corridos and appropriates its subversive nature to the Chicano experience. Rivera 2006 draws upon Paredes’s folklore studies of Mexican Americans trace the development of Mexican American peoplehood. Meanwhile, Stavans and Aldama 2014 discuss his influence within Chicano popular culture. Johannessen 2008 deals with a close reading of George Washington Gómez (1990) and its relation to cultural assimilation. Bruce-Novoa 1994, however, paints Paredes’s corrido tradition to inhibit forms of cultural expression.

  • Bruce-Novoa, Juan. “Dialogical Strategies, Monological Goals: Chicano Literature.” In An Other Tongue: Nation and Ethnicity in the Linguistic Borderlands. Edited by Alfred Arteaga, 225–245. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994.

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    An analysis of various Chicano authors and Paredes 1958b, cited under Corrido Scholarship. Extends the argument of Rosaldo 1987, cited under Border Studies, by stating that Paredes’s corrido tradition shows “intolerance” of other Chicano cultural expressions.

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  • Johannessen, Lene M. “The Appropriate(d) Hero: Américo Paredes’ ‘George Washington Gómez.’” In Threshold Time: Passage of Crisis in Chicano Literature, 81–99. New York: Rodopi, 2008.

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    Mentioned in Limón 2012, cited under The “Asian Américo” Debate, Johannessen delves into a close reading of the protagonist of Paredes 1990a, cited under Creative Works. Contrary to other works that view Paredes’s novel to be modernist in perspective, (see Pérez 1998, Saldívar 1995, and Saldívar 2006, cited under Border Studies, Modernism, and The “Asian Américo” Debate, respectively) the author finds the novel to be understood as a process of cultural assimilation.

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  • Leal, Luis. “Américo Paredes.” In A Luis Leal Reader. Edited by Ilan Stavans, 235–244. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2007.

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    An engaging, probing profile of Paredes by Luis Leal, the dean of Chicano Studies.

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  • Rivera, John-Michael. “‘Con su pluma en su mano’: Américo Paredes and the Poetics of ‘Mexican American’ Peoplehood.” In The Emergence of Mexican America: Recovering Stories of Mexican Peoplehood in U.S. Culture. By John-Michael Rivera, 135–164. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

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    This piece explores Paredes and the notion of collective identity formation in Mexican American culture. Drawing on several of his short stories and Creative Works, and his involvement with the League of United Latin American Citizens, Rivera surmises Paredes’s thoughts regarding assimilation and acculturation.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. “Paredes, Villareal, and the Dialectics of History.” In Chicano Narrative: The Dialectics of Difference. By Ramón Saldívar, 46–73. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.

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    A comparison between Paredes’s short stories and Jose Antonio Villareal’s Pocho. The author traces the resistant and subversive nature of corridos to these works and places both authors as “originary Chicano narrative texts” (p. 73).

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  • Stavans, Ilan, and Frederick Luis Aldama. ¡Muy Pop!: Conversations on Latino Popular Culture. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2014.

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    In an informative dialogue, Ilan Stavans discusses Paredes with comparative literature professor Frederick Luis Aldama in the context of popular culture, from movies to comedy. Stavans also frequently refers to Paredes in his other work, from The Hispanic Condition (New York, HarperCollins: 1995) to What Is La Hispanidad?A Conversation (with Ivan Jaksić, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011).

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Influence on Corrido Studies

José E. Limón has given the most complete analysis of Paredes’s corrido work. Limón 1990 and Limón 1992a are analyses of Paredes’ corridos within a lyrical context and as a discussion of domination by hegemonic cultures. Limón 1992b also provides a lyrical analysis of Paredes’s With A Pistol in His Hand (1958). Limón 1993 is an attempt to establish the corrido as a driving force of Mexican American political performances. Similar in theme, Saldívar 1990 links the subversiveness of corridos to influence Chicano narrative. Young 1982 is based on With a Pistol in His Hand, and is noteworthy for being the only film adaptation of Paredes’s work on corridos.

  • Limón, José E. “Oral Tradition and Poetic Influence: Two Poets from Greater Mexico.” In Redefining American Literary History. Edited by A. LaVonne Brown Ruoff and Jerry W. Ward, 124–141. New York: Modern Language Association, 1990.

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    A reading of two poems, one by an anonymous Mexican author and another, Guitarreros, by Américo Paredes. Limón compares the two by basing his analysis on the “Bakhtin-Bauman notion of intertextuality” (p. 140) and Harold Bloom’s “theory of poetic influence” (p. 140).

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  • Limón, José E. “Américo Paredes, Tradition, and the First Ephebe: A Poetic Meditation on the Epic Corrido.” In Mexican Ballads, Chicano Poems: History and Influence in Mexican-American Social Poetry, 45–60. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992a.

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    Similar to Limón 1990, the Paredes poem Guitarreros is once again the central focus of this chapter within the context of the “discourses of domination” (p. 56).

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  • Limón, José E. “‘With His Pistol in His Hand’: The Essay as Strong Sociological Poem.” In Mexican Ballads, Chicano Poems: History and Influence in Mexican-American Social Poetry. Edited by José E. Limón, 61–77. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992b.

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    An examination of the poetics of Paredes 1958b, cited under Corrido Scholarship.

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  • Limón, José E. “The Return of the Mexican Ballad: Américo Paredes and His Anthropological Text as Persuasive Political Performances.” In Creativity/Anthropology. Edited by Smadar Lavie, Kirin Narayan, and Renato Rosaldo, 184–210. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993.

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    A deeply researched analysis that attributes corridos as key to the development of Mexican American political culture.

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  • Saldívar, Ramón. “The Folk Base of Chicano Narrative: Américo Paredes’ ‘With a Pistol in His Hand’ and the Corrido Tradition.” In Chicano Narrative: The Dialectics of Difference. Edited by Ramón Saldívar, 26–45. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990.

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    The author argues that the symbolic resistance of corridos continues to influence contemporary Chicano narratives.

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  • Young, Robert, dir. The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez, 1982. VHS. Beverly Hills, CA: Metro Goldwyn Mayer Home Entertainment, 2000.

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    The film presents a retelling of Paredes 1958b, cited under Corrido Scholarship, and stars Edward James Olmos as the titular character. The film is currently out of print but can still be found on VHS on sites like Amazon.

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