Latino Studies Pan-Latinidad
by
Marion Rohrleitner
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 19 March 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0064

Introduction

“Pan-latinidad” is a complex term whose meaning changes, depending on historical, geopolitical, and ideological context. In Latin America, pan-latinidad is historically associated with 19th-century independence movements, specifically the decolonizing process, as formulated by Simón Bolívar during the Congreso Anfictiónico de Panamá in 1826. Initially conceived as an ideology aimed at uniting all the colonies in the New World against European imperial rule, pan-latinidad was increasingly invoked to juxtapose an idealist Latin America, which derives its cultural identity from the romance nations of Western Europe, with a utilitarian and pragmatic Anglo-Saxon United States in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries. As a political ideology, pan-latinidad originates in the work of the French economist Michel Chevalier, who argued for a natural cultural affinity between Latin America, France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain in an effort to counter the Monroe Doctrine. José Martí, Rubén Darío, José Enrique Rodó, and José Vasconcelos also argued this position, privileging Latin American cultures over that of the United States, which they perceived as a new imperial force in the Americas. In the 1960s and 1970s the term began to gain currency in the United States, in the wake of the civil rights movement; the Immigration Act of 1965; and the rise of dictatorial regimes in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. Pan-latinidad emerged with renewed force during the civil wars in Central America in the 1980s in order to facilitate solidarity among groups that might otherwise be separated along national, racial, ethnic, class, linguistic, and religious lines. As Latino/Latina groups in the United States grew in number and purchasing power, pan-latinidad underwent yet another shift and became a category created to describe consumers of diverse Latin American origins in that country. Given this rich and conflicted history, the purpose and usefulness of the term remain contested. To some, pan-latinidad is a powerful tool for mobilizing a varied and historically disenfranchised population in the United States; to others, the term is a cynical corporate invention created by those who capitalize on commodified ethnicity. Still others consider the term redundant, as latinidad is itself an umbrella term. To them, “pan-latinidad” dissolves important historical differences and therefore poses a threat to the hard-earned victories won by social movements based on national origins. Regardless of these disagreements, pan-latinidad continues to gain currency and will become only more significant with the continuously growing Latino/Latina population in the United States.

General Overviews, Encyclopedias, and Readers

Padilla 1985 is generally considered one of the groundbreaking studies of pan-latinidad in the United States, known for coining the panethnic term latinismo and for its attention to the tension between self-identification and state-ordained labeling. Stavans 1995 is another critical stepping stone in the definition and historical contextualization of the complex lives of Latinos and Latinas in the United States, based on shared language, religious affiliation, and cultural values, an approach continued by Gracia 2000. Delgado and Stefancic 2011 knowingly engages Stavans’s terminology and offers critical additions. Suárez-Orozco and Páez 2009 and Gonzalez 2011 focus on the evolution and multiple applications of the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino”/“Latina” and, by extension, “pan-latinidad.” Oboler and Gonzalez 2005 provides the most comprehensive study of the history, activism, and changing legal and economic situation of the diverse Latino/Latina populations in the United States. Finally, Stavans 2011 is a groundbreaking anthology of Latino literature that spans four centuries and that covers more than 200 Latino/Latina authors of diverse national and ethnic origins.

  • Delgado, Richard, and Jean Stefancic, eds. The Latino/a Condition: A Critical Reader. 2d ed. New York: New York University Press, 2011.

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    The updated second edition of this reader offers a useful introduction to key terms and major debates in Latino/Latina studies, including “pan-latinidad” as well as transnational and panethnic activism in response to anti-immigrant rhetoric and legislation.

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    • Gonzalez, Juan. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. Rev. ed. New York: Penguin, 2011.

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      Very accessible introduction to the complex histories and cultures of Americans of Latin American descent. Emphasizes diversity and divergent histories of immigration and citizenship status among Latinos and Latinas.

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      • Gracia, Jorge J. E. Hispanic/Latino Identity: A Philosophical Perspective. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2000.

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        This reader addresses latinidad as a panethnic, transnational term situated among evolving categories of inquiry—ethnicity, race, and racial ethnicity.

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        • Oboler, Suzanne, and Deena J. González, eds. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Latinos and Latinas in the United States. 4 vols. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

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          The most comprehensive text, looking at the complexity of Latinos and Latinas in the United States in terms of racial and ethnic diversity, class and educational background, and historical presence.

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          • Padilla, Felix M. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: The Case of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1985.

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            The author coins the term “Latinismo” as a way for Americans of Latin American descent to identify shared concerns strategically and take action as a group. The study focuses on Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, but Padilla’s insights can be productively applied to more recent immigrant groups.

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            • Stavans, Ilan. The Hispanic Condition: Reflections on Culture and Identity in America. New York: HarperCollins, 1995.

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              This effective and often controversial study links Vasconcelos’s notion of a “fifth race” (see Vasconcelos 1997, cited under Primary Texts) to changing demographics in the United States. Even though attentive to the specificity of national origins, especially among Cuban Americans and Mexican Americans, Stavans suggests that by becoming a majority minority in the United States, Latinos/Latinas will forge a unified identity based predominantly on a shared language and religious preference.

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              • Stavans, Ilan, ed. The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature. New York: Norton, 2011.

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                Structured around six chronologically organized sections (“Colonization,” “Annexation,” “Acculturation,” “Upheaval,” “Into the Mainstream,” “and “Popular Traditions”), this innovative anthology features an impressive range of interdisciplinary texts by more than two hundred Latino/Latina authors of diverse national, ethnic, and class backgrounds, from the 16th to the early 21st century.

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                • Suárez-Orozco, Marcelo M., and Mariela M. Páez, eds. Latinos: Remaking America. Rev. ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.

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                  While recognizing and discussing in detail the significant differences in national origin, ethnicity, language usage, class, and immigration states among Latinos and Latinas, this collection of essays also successfully delineates the possibility of an emerging panethnic identity for Latinos and Latinas in the United States, especially in areas with a greater diversity within a Latino/Latina majority/minority.

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                  Scholarly Articles

                  Scholarly articles on pan-latinidad, such as De la Campa 2001 and Wise 2008, tend to focus on the evolution of Latino/Latina identity in a larger global network. Other works, such as Flores and Yúdice 1990, Sommers 1991, and Mayer 2004, showcase pan-latinidad as a potentially useful category for social justice movements situated in particular urban spaces and specific migrant and immigrant communities, such as Puerto Ricans or Cuban Americans, while they problematize the concept as potentially inhibiting or obscuring such movements,

                  • De la Campa, Román. “Latin, Latino, American: Split States and Global Imaginaries.” Comparative Literature 53.4 (2001): 373–388.

                    DOI: 10.1215/-53-4-373Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    The author offers a very useful, concise survey of the diverse Latino/Latina populations and their narratives of migration to the United States and addresses persistent challenges to the notion of pan-Latinidad. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                    • Flores, Juan, and George Yúdice. “Living Borders/Buscando America: Languages of Latino Self-Formation.” Social Text 24 (1990): 57–84.

                      DOI: 10.2307/827827Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      The authors focus on the concept of new social movements rather than the problematic assumption of a shared language, ethnicity, or cultural values among diverse Latino/Latina populations when defining latinidad. Available online by subscription.

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                      • Mayer, Vicki. “Please Pass the Pan: Retheorizing the Map of Panlatinidad in Communication Research.” Communication Review 7.2 (2004): 113–124.

                        DOI: 10.1080/10714420490448679Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Mayer suggests that although it has become an increasingly important category of inquiry in communications, pan-latinidad threatens to obscure the diversity of more recent immigration from Latin America. Mayer specifically points to Argentine immigrants, whose educational level and ethnic background tend to be radically different from that of immigrants from other parts of Latin America. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                        • Sommers, Laurie Kay. “Inventing Latinismo: The Creation of ‘Hispanic’ Panethnicity in the United States.” Journal of American Folklore 104.411 (1991): 32–53.

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                          This article stresses the role of public fiestas in facilitating the development of a pan-Latino/Latina identity in San Francisco between 1983 and 1990. As an “imagined community,” the creation of any panethnic identity is largely reliant on shared symbols and values and is consciously produced via the repeated display and performance of such symbols. Available online by subscription.

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                          • Wise, J. Macgregor. “Panlatinidad.” In Cultural Globalization: A User’s Guide. By J. Macgregor Wise, 118–124. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2008.

                            DOI: 10.1002/9780470696699Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            Useful summary and short introduction to key definitions of and debates on pan-latinidad.

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                            Primary Texts

                            The following four poems and essays are often cited as foundational to the development of pan-latinidad as an idea. Martí 2010, Rodó 1922, Darío 1965, and Vasconcelos 1997 are essential to an understanding of pan-latinidad. The philological and literary scholarship of Henríquez Ureña 1978 engages with all four texts and illustrates an early engagement with them in order to highlight a Latin American version of the possibilities inherent in the New World.

                            • Darío, Rubén. “To Roosevelt.” In Selected Poems of Rubén Darío. Translated by Lysander Kemp. By Rubén Darío, 69–70. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1965.

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                              Originally published in 1904. This poem is a direct response to the passing of the Roosevelt Corollary and critiques President Theodore Roosevelt’s claims to pacify the Western Hemisphere as self-righteous, juxtaposing them with a Latin American perspective, which rejects such interventions as hypocrisy and imperial aspiration.

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                              • Henríquez Ureña, Pedro. La Utopia de América. Edited by Angel Rama and Rafael Gutiérrez Giradot. Caracas, Venezuela: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1978.

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                                The Dominican philologist locates the most persistent characteristic of latinidad in the New World in its appreciation of ethnic and cultural diversity. Inspired by José Martí’s “Our America” (Martí 2010), Henríquez Ureña traces the utopian promise of Latin America to its creative responses to political and economic crises, which draw on its diverse populations and which ultimately lead to a strong national affiliation among equals.

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                                • Martí, José. “Our America.” In The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Vol. C, Late Nineteenth Century, 1865–1910. 6th ed. Edited by Paul Lauter, et al., 1091–1100. Boston: Wadsworth, 2010.

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                                  English translation of “Nuestra America,” originally published in 1891, in La revista ilustrada; reprinted in 1963, in Martí’s Obras completas, Vol. 6 (Havana: Editorial Nacional de Cuba). Martí calls for Latin America’s independence from both European and North American influences and urges fellow Latin Americans to focus on the history and rich cultural heritage of indigenous civilizations in the Southern hemisphere and to take pride in Latin America’s indigenous and African ancestry.

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                                  • Rodó, José Enrique. Ariel. Translated by F. J. Stimson. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin, 1922.

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                                    Rodó’s essay claims William Shakespeare’s airy, intellectual spirit Ariel for Latin America and relegates Caliban, who has historically been associated with America’s indigenous peoples, to the inarticulate and uninspired greed and pragmatism of the United States.

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                                    • Vasconcelos, José. The Cosmic Race: A Bilingual Edition. Translated and edited by Didier T. Jaén. Race in the Americas. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997.

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                                      In this groundbreaking essay, Vasconcelos argues for the rise of a fifth, “cosmic” race in the Americas resulting from the ongoing mestizaje of indigenous, African, and European peoples in Latin America. Even though Vasconcelos problematically remains rooted in a biological definition of race, his essay describing an essentially different, shared pan-Latin identity is among the most influential visions of pan-latinidad based on shared, multiethnic background.

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                                      Pan-Americanism and Latin America

                                      “Pan-latinidad” stands in productive tension with another umbrella term, “pan-Americanism,” and with the evolution of Latin America as a cultural unit. Important work relating to pan-latinidad historically engages with the legacy and impact of the ideas of José Martí and of his US counterparts on constructions of latinidad (Belnap and Fernández 1998, Lomas 2008, Phelan 1968). A concern with connections and potential collaborations between Latino/Latina studies and Latin Americanists is central to this debate (Mignolo 2005; Poblete 2003; Bonilla, et al., 1998). Stavans and Jaksić 2011 offers a broad history of cultural practices and values shared by peninsular Spain and Spanish-speaking Caribbean and South American nations that serves well as an introduction to the topic of pan-latinidad. Galeano 1973 links the neocolonial exploitation of Latin America by North America in the 20th century to a centuries-old legacy of conquest and colonization by European imperial powers.

                                      • Belnap, Jeffrey, and Raúl Fernández, eds. José Martí’s “Our America”: From National to Hemispheric Cultural Studies. New Americanists. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998.

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                                        Illuminating collection of essays that, in a broad swath, looks at Martí as a proto-Latino writer, whose journalistic pieces both reflected and greatly influenced his fellow writers in the United States, Spain, France, Cuba, and Central America. José David Saldívar’s essay “Nuestra America’s Borders: Remapping American Cultural Studies” is particularly relevant to constructions of pan-latinidad as a key aspect in the reconceptualization of US cultural consciousness and production.

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                                        • Bonilla, Felix, Edwin Meléndez, Rebecca Morales, and María de los Angeles Torres, eds. Borderless Borders: U.S. Latinos, Latin Americans, and the Paradox of Interdependence. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998.

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                                          This interdisciplinary collection highlights how Latin America and the United States are intimately intertwined economically, politically, and culturally. The most innovative part of the collection deals with emerging forms of cultural citizenship and community organization across national and ethnic boundaries in Latino/Latina communities in the United States.

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                                          • Galeano, Eduardo. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. Translated by Cedric Belfrage. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1973.

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                                            This now-canonical treatise of anticolonial historiography connects the Spanish and Portuguese colonization and economic exploitation of Latin America, from the 16th to the 19th century, to neocolonial practices in the 20th century by the United States, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

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                                            • Lomas, Laura. Translating Empire: José Martí, Migrant Latino Subjects, and American Modernities. New Americanists. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.

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                                              Award-winning and thoroughly researched study of Martí as a transnational Latino writer. Also covers the cross-fertilization of his work with key figures in American literary culture, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, and his intricate connection to border theory. The chapter “Martí’s Border Writing: Infiltrative Translation, Late Nineteenth-Century ‘Latinness,’ and the Perils of Pan-Americanism” is particularly relevant for a discussion of pan-latinidad and pan-Americanism.

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                                              • Mignolo, Walter D. The Idea of Latin America. Blackwell Manifestos. Malden, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell, 2005.

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                                                This illuminating study gives excellent background for an understanding of the historical development of Latin America as a geopolitical concept and presents a useful theoretical framework for pan-latinidad beyond a Eurocentric or nationalist perspective.

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                                                • Phelan, J. L. “Pan-Latinisms, French Intervention in Mexico (1861–1867) and the Genesis of the Idea of Latin America.” In Conciencia y autenticidad históricas: Escritos en homenaje a Edmundo O’Gorman, emerito, aetatis anno LX dicata. Edited by Juan A. Ortega y Medina, 279–298. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 1968.

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                                                  A still important in-depth study of the historical evolution of the concept of an idealistic Latin America based in the romance-language-speaking nations of Western Europe, in opposition to the allegedly Anglo-Saxon-dominated North America.

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                                                  • Poblete, Juan, ed. Critical Latin American and Latino Studies. Papers presented at a conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz, 26–27 February 1999. Cultural Studies of the Americas 12. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

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                                                    This important interdisciplinary collection of essays features contributions by some of the most important scholars in the fields of both Latin American and Latino/Latina studies and offers valuable insights into central debates about intersections and productive collaborations between Latin American scholars and those working from a US perspective.

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                                                    • Stavans, Ilan, and Iván Jaksić. What Is la hispanidad? A Conversation. Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011.

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                                                      A wide-ranging and highly readable conversation, ranging from the Reyes Católicos to soccer, from salsa to tapas, from peninsular Spain to Cuba and Argentina. Both scholars cleverly avoid providing a concrete definition of “hispanidad” and instead agree on the term’s fluidity and adaptability to changing political, cultural, and natural environments.

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                                                      Latino/Latina Diversity, Race, and Ethnicity

                                                      One of the central debates on pan-latinidad focuses on the tension concerning latinidad as a racial or ethnic category. Works such as Oboler 1995, Alcoff 2006, and Dávila 2008 highlight how the umbrella term latinidad often results in an effective denial and marginalization of Afro-Latinos and Afro-Latinas in the public sphere and tends to be used as a way to “whiten” latinidad. Itzigsohn and Dore-Cabral 2000, McConnell and Delgado-Romero 2004, and Golash-Boza 2006 show how a pan-Latino/Latina identification frequently stems from encounters with racism or other forms of exclusion. Vasquez 1999 is exemplary of the power of religious identification for forging pan-Latino/Latina alliances. Stavans 2011 offers a critical reading of the foundational work on mestizaje by the Mexican philosopher José Vasconcelos.

                                                      • Alcoff, Linda Martín. Visible Identities: Race, Gender, and the Self. Studies in Feminist Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

                                                        DOI: 10.1093/0195137345.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        In this tour de force the philosopher traces the evolution and defines the contours of identity politics, especially as it has developed in critical race theory and gender studies in the United States, and provides important insights into the formation of Latino/Latina identities as an expression of cultural citizenship.

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                                                        • Dávila, Arlene. Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race. New York: New York University Press, 2008.

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                                                          This award-winning study brings attention to the odd binary construction of Latinos/Latinas in the United States as either hardworking, family-oriented, upwardly mobile immigrants with growing purchasing power or lazy, criminal, unassimilable aliens whose stubborn clinging to obsolete cultural values endangers the American way of life. Dávila effectively dismantles this utterly false dichotomy and presents productive venues for alternative constructions of latinidad.

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                                                          • Golash-Boza, Tanya. “Dropping the Hyphen? Becoming Latino(a)-American through Racialized Assimilation.” Social Forces 85.1 (2006): 27–55.

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                                                            Drawing on the 1989 Latino National Political Survey and the 2002 National Survey of Latinos, the author shows that Americans of Latin American descent are more likely to identify with the panethnic label “Latino” rather than simply “American” after confronted with racism in the United States. Available online by subscription.

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                                                            • Itzigsohn, Jose, and Carlos Dore-Cabral. “Competing Identities? Race, Ethnicity and Panethnicity among Dominicans in the United States.” Sociological Forum 15.2 (2000): 225–247.

                                                              DOI: 10.1023/A:1007517407493Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                              The authors persuasively show how Dominican Americans begin to adopt a pan-Latino identity over time in response to racial hierarchies in the United States, yet they do so without completely abandoning or rejecting their national identity. Available online by subscription.

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                                                              • McConnell, Eileen Diaz, and Edward A. Delgado-Romero. “Latino Panethnicity: Reality or Methodological Construction?” In Special Issue: The Latino Experience in the United States. Edited by Rogelio Saenz and Edward Murguia. Sociological Focus 37.4 (2004): 297–312.

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                                                                Taking the 2000 census as a starting point, in which approximately 15 percent of Latinos did not identify along a nation-based scale, but as pan-Latino, the authors address this significant shift in Latino/Latina self-identification. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                • Oboler, Suzanne. Ethnic Labels, Latino Lives: Identity and the Politics of (Re)presentation in the United States. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995.

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                                                                  The author dismantles the myth of Latino/Latina homogeneity and differentiates between ethnic labeling for political and marketing purposes and the actual lived experiences of members of a diverse Latino/Latina population in the United States. Through interviews and quantitative research, the author takes great care to point out the significant differences among migrants from Mexico, Central America, the “Hispanophone” Caribbean, and South America.

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                                                                  • Stavans, Ilan. José Vasconcelos: The Prophet of Race. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011.

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                                                                    This study offers new contextualizations and analyses of Vasconcelos’s oeuvre; features a new translation, by John H. R. Polt, of Vasconcelos’s 1925 essay “Mestizaje,” key to his development of the notion of a genetically and culturally superior brown cosmic race; and includes little known essays, such as his 1926 “Race Problem in Latin America.”

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                                                                    • Vasquez, Manuel A. “Pentecostalism, Collective Identity, and Transnationalism among Salvadorans and Peruvians in the U.S.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 67.3 (1999): 617–636.

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                                                                      This intriguing article is exemplary of a significant and often neglected strand of pan-latinidad: religious affiliation. Stereotypically associated with Roman Catholicism, Latinos and Latinas actually belong to and practice an increasingly wide range of religions, which, in turn, facilitates a pan-Latino/Latina identification. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                      The Marketplace

                                                                      One of the most important applications of the term “pan-latinidad” in the United States since the mid-1990s consists in its intimate relation to the capitalist marketplace. Key authors, such as the cultural anthropologist Arlene Dávila 2012, argues that latinidad is a category invented by savvy marketing specialists eager to sell to an easily targeted segment of the consumer population (Dávila 2012). Tharp 2001 contextualizes latinidad with the creation of other ethnically based consumer categories. Aparicio and Chávez-Silverman 1997 highlights how Latino/Latina authors and artists engage with this newly created consumer category.

                                                                      • Aparicio, Frances R., and Susana Chávez-Silverman, eds. Tropicalizations: Transcultural Representations of Latinidad. Reencounters with Colonialism—New Perspectives on the Americas. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1997.

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                                                                        This excellent collection of essays discusses how Latin America and Latinos and Latinas in the United States have been exoticized and eroticized in the public sphere and how Latino/Latina artists, writers, and consumers respond to and engage with various forms of tropicalization.

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                                                                        • Dávila, Arlene. Latinos Inc.: The Marketing and Making of a People. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

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                                                                          Dávila convincingly shows, in this highly readable book, that even though the “Latin boom” has created a new consumer category often subsumed under a misleading pan-Latino label, the vogue of all things Latino/Latina has effected greater political invisibility of Latinos and Latinas and has resulted in neither economic equity nor equal representation.

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                                                                          • Tharp, Marye C. Marketing and Consumer Identity in Multicultural America. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2001.

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                                                                            Latinos/Latinas forms one of the five major focal groups in this in-depth study of the ways in which consumers’ ethnic self-identification is encouraged, manipulated, and produced by savvy marketing corporations.

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                                                                            Literature

                                                                            Discussions of pan-latinidad in literature mirror the debates on race, ethnicity, music, and urban spaces. Some see pan-latinidad as a social phenomenon that contributes to and strengthens existing social justice movements by negotiating a more inclusive version of American national identity (Allatson 2002, Alonso Gallo 2002, Sugg 2004, Dalleo and Machado Sáez 2007). Others foreground critiques of the concept as a falsely universalizing category, while acknowledging its potential (Caminero-Santangelo 2007, Knadler 2005).

                                                                            • ‪Allatson, Paul. Latino Dreams: ‪Transcultural Traffic and the U.S. National Imaginary. Portada Hispánica 14. Amsterdam and New York: Rodopi, 2002.

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                                                                              Allatson offers brilliant insights into the construction of a US national identity via analysis of a diverse body of Latino/Latina texts and performance art, ranging from Puerto Rican and Nuyorican, to Cuban American, to Mexican American.

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                                                                              • Alonso Gallo, Laura P., “Latino Culture in the U.S.: Using, Reviewing, and Reconstructing Latinidad in Contemporary Latino/a Fiction.” KulturPoetik 2.2 (2002): 236–248.

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                                                                                Taking the work of Gustavo Pérez Firmat and Guillermo Gómez Peña as a starting point for a critique of the very category “Latino/Latina Literature,” Alonso Gallo focuses on what can be gained from a (pan) Latino/Latina category in literary studies when being attentive to processes of self-tropicalization in the writings of Julia Alvarez, Oscar Hijuelos, and Cristina García. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                • Caminero-Santangelo, Marta. On Latinidad: U.S. Latino Literature and the Construction of Ethnicity. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007.

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                                                                                  Excellent study of diverse Latino/Latina fiction. The author insists on the pitfalls of pan-latinidad, while embracing its potential as a channel for solidarity movements. Accessible and sophisticated discussion of major novels by Cuban American, Dominican American, Puerto Rican, Mexican American, and Central American migrant and immigrant authors.

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                                                                                  • Dalleo, Raphael, and Elena Machado Sáez. The Latina/o Canon and the Emergence of Post-Sixties Literature. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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                                                                                    In this thought-provoking and immensely readable work the authors challenge the assumption that contemporary Latino/Latina literature departs from the political agenda of its predecessors, such as Chicana/o and Puerto Rican literature produced in the 1960s, and illustrates how, since the 1990s, Latino/Latina authors have engaged in a different form of cultural critique via self-conscious and effective engagement with the market.

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                                                                                    • Knadler, Stephen. “Blanca from the Block: Whiteness and the Transnational Latina Body.” Genders 41 (2005).

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                                                                                      In this provocative article, Knadler models how pan-latinidad has been used in US media and literature, specifically Julia Alvarez’s novels, as a way of effectively whitewashing Afro-Latinas.

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                                                                                      • Sugg, Katherine. “Literatures of the Americas, Latinidad, and the Re-formation of Multi-ethnic Literatures.” MELUS 29.3–4 (2004): 227–242.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/4141852Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Beginning with a reference to linguistic convergences in the diverse “Hispanophone” dialects of immigrant Latinos and Latinas in New York City, Sugg, in this provocative and persuasive article, emphasizes the growing significance of transnational approaches, such as latinidad, to nation-based studies in terms of achieving a better understanding of contemporary ethnic literatures in the United States. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                        Music

                                                                                        Research on the music in ethnic neighborhoods in major American cities with a sizable Latino/Latina population, such as New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Washington, DC; Miami; and New Orleans, is part of a larger cultural studies project. The monographs Flores 2000, Dávila 2012 (cited under The Marketplace), and Rivera 2003 all focus on the cross-fertilization between Puerto Rican and African American urban forms of musical expression, which, in turn, contributes to the formation and extension of pan-latinidades in the city. (These studies maintain, however, the important cultural and civic specificity of Puerto Ricans in New York City.) Pacini Hernandez, et al. 2004 offers a useful general comparison and details mutual influences of Latin American and US Latino/Latina rock. Paredez 2002 provides a fascinating case study of trans-latinidad in its discussion of the cultural legacy of the Tejano singer Selena.

                                                                                        • Flores, Juan. From Bomba to Hip-Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity. Popular Cultures, Everyday Lives. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                          The author takes great care in highlighting the specificity of Puerto Rican cultural production in Latino/Latina literature, music, visual, and performing arts and points to the leading role of Puerto Rican, especially Nuyorican, artists in laying the groundwork for artistic cross-fertilization and political solidarity between Puerto Ricans and African Americans, especially as expressed in the realm of popular music.

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                                                                                          • Laó-Montes, Agustín, and Arlene Dávila, eds. Mambo Montage: The Latinization of New York. New York: Columbia University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                            An excellent collection of essays by cultural critics, anthropologists, sociologists, literary scholars, and ethnomusicologists on the multiple processes that turn New York City into a Latino/Latina metropolis characterized by multiple latinidades, using the mambo as a theoretical framework. The introduction by Agustín Laó-Montes is most relevant for anyone interested in pan-latinidad in the City.

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                                                                                            • Pacini Hernandez, Deborah, Héctor Fernández-L’Hoeste, and Eric Zolov, eds. Rockin’ Las Américas: The Global Politics of Rock in Latin/o America. Illuminations: Cultural Formations of the Americas. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004.

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                                                                                              This unique collection of essays traces the role and evolution of rock music in Latin America and among Latinos and Latinas in the United States. Although the essays focus on national specificities, they also address how Latin American and Latino/Latina rock musicians mutually influence each other and respond to the demands of the marketplace in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

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                                                                                              • Paredez, Deborah. “Remembering Selena, Re-membering Latinidad.” Theatre Journal 54.1 (2002): 63–84.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/tj.2002.0024Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Paredez highlights the larger significance of the murder of the Tejano pop star Selena Quintanilla Perez and the complex expressions of mourning over her early death, including musicals and a feature film starring the Puerto Rican actress Jennifer Lopez. Paredez connects Selena’s legacy to the militarization of the US-Mexico border and the unsolved murders of young Mexican women in Ciudad Juárez. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                • Rivera, Raquel Z. New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1057/9781403981677Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Fascinating and readable study of the role of hip-hop in fostering solidarity, artistic collaboration, and a sense of pan-latinidad among Latinos and Latinas of Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban, and African American descent in New York City. The chapter “Ghettocentricity, Blackness, and Pan-Latinidad: The Mid- to Late 1990s” is particularly relevant to this discussion.

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                                                                                                  Film and Media

                                                                                                  Scholarship on pan-latinidad and media representations tends to focus on stereotypical (mis)representations of Latinos and Latinas, in particular the exoticization and eroticization of Latinas. Rodríguez 1997, Berg 2002, Mendible 2007, and Molina-Guzmán 2010 all provide in-depth analyses of representations in film and print media. Another important strand in this area of research relates to the targeting of a specifically identified pan-Latino/Latina market (Subervi-Vélez 1999, Johnson 2000, Mayer 2001).

                                                                                                  • Berg, Charles Ramírez. Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, and Resistance. Texas Film and Media Studies. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                    Highly readable, in-depth study of the construction of pan-Latino/Latina stereotypes in US film across multiple national origins as well as the reaction to such stereotypes by Latino/Latina actors, directors, screenwriters, and producers.

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                                                                                                    • Johnson, Melissa A. “How Ethnic Are U.S. Ethnic Media: The Case of Latina Magazines.” Mass Communication and Society 3.2–3 (2000): 229–248.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1207/S15327825MCS0323_04Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      Effectively illustrates the simultaneously assimilative and multiculturalist character of magazines (English, Spanish, bilingual) aimed at Latina consumers in the United States. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                      • Mayer, Vicki. “From Segmented to Fragmented: Latino Media in San Antonio, Texas.” Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly 78.2 (2001): 291–306.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/107769900107800206Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Concise and adept description of the creation of mass media aimed at a specifically produced Latino/Latina audience; case study of San Antonio with larger implications for all US cities with significant Latino/Latina populations. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                        • Mendible, Myra, ed. From Bananas to Buttocks: The Latina Body in Popular Film and Culture. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                          Persuasive and imaginative analysis of the (mis)representation, exoticization, and eroticization of Latinas in US media. Offers a cross-section of US Latinas (Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, Mexican, Central American, South American), showing how racist distortions are at times a function of universalizing pan-Latina identity.

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                                                                                                          • Molina-Guzmán, Isabel. Dangerous Curves: Latina Bodies in the Media. Critical Cultural Communication. New York: New York University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                            This innovative study takes a broad sweep and analyzes the ways in which images of Latina film and TV actresses, artists, models, and singers are manipulated and marketed in both English- and Spanish-language media—film, TV, newspapers and tabloids, fashion magazines, blogs, and music productions.

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                                                                                                            • Rodríguez, Clara E., ed. Latin Looks: Images of Latinas and Latinos in the U.S. Media. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1997.

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                                                                                                              Useful and comprehensive collection of essays that gives an introduction to the history, breadth, and evolution of studies on the racialization of Latinos and Latinas in all aspects of US media.

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                                                                                                              • Subervi-Vélez, Federico A. “The Mass Media and Latinos: Policy and Research Agendas for the Next Century.” Aztlán 24.2 (1999): 131–147.

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                                                                                                                This article identifies five key criteria for the future of Latino/Latina access to, participation in, and representation by mass media and presents recommendations for action. Among the most productive and relevant suggestions are providing access to technology, being attentive to bilingual and multicultural children’s programming, and the development of emergence communications in both Spanish and English. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                                                Urban Spaces and Cultural Citizenship

                                                                                                                Most research in this area looks at the ways in which diverse Latino/Latina populations, such as Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans, Dominican Americans, and Guatemalan Americans, in major American cities, such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, and New Orleans, create artistic and political alliances across ethnic and national divides to forge a shared agenda that positively affects the life of all Latinos and Latinas in US cities. Davis 2000 focuses mostly on Los Angeles and the growing impact of Central American immigrants, De Genova and Ramos-Zayas 2003 contains a case study from community organizers in Chicago, Dávila 2004 examines East Harlem, and Rodríguez 2009 analyzes Latino/Latina theater and performance in Los Angeles. Vásquez 2004 is an excellent example of a historical study of changing Latino/Latina communities, in Philadelphia. The concept of cultural citizenship in urban spaces provides an increasingly important alternative to traditional, nationality-based forms of citizenship, as Flores and Benmayor 1997 points out. Coll 2010 presents a case study on Latina activism as a key form of cultural citizenship across ethnic and national divides in the San Francisco Bay area.

                                                                                                                • Coll, Kathleen M. Remaking Citizenship: Latina Immigrants and New American Politics. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                  Coll’s study centers on the work of Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), a social advocacy group founded and lead by Latina immigrant women from diverse backgrounds in the San Francisco Bay Area in reaction to anti-immigrant violence. The group supports health care and schooling for migrant children and workers’ rights.

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                                                                                                                  • Dávila, Arlene. Barrio Dreams: Puerto Ricans, Latinos, and the Neoliberal City. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

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                                                                                                                    Even though this extremely well-researched and highly readable text examines one very specific urban environment, New York’s East Harlem (also known as Spanish Harlem), Dávila’s conclusion can be applied to issues of gentrification in several US cities with historical Latino/Latina neighborhoods.

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                                                                                                                    • Davis, Mike. Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City. London and New York: Verso, 2000.

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                                                                                                                      The author predicts, based on the shifting demographics toward a Latino/Latina majority made up of Latin American of diverse origins in large US cities (especially Los Angeles), that a melting pot of multiple Latino/Latina national identities, with a new, panethnic consciousness, will form.

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                                                                                                                      • De Genova, Nicholas, and Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas. “Latino Rehearsals: Racialization and the Politics of Citizenship between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago.” Journal of Latin American Anthropology 8.2 (2003): 18–57.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1525/jlca.2003.8.2.18Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Concrete and detailed case study of collaboration and tensions between two of the largest Latino communities in Chicago that highlights potential venues for and challenges to building a pan-Latino identity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                        • Flores, William V., and Rita Benmayor, eds. Latino Cultural Citizenship: Claiming Identity, Space, and Rights. Boston: Beacon, 1997.

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                                                                                                                          Exploring daily cultural practices and acts of civic consciousness, public organizing, and education, the essays in this illuminating and accessible interdisciplinary collection illustrate the imaginative ways in which Latinos and Latinas in urban and rural spaces alike demonstrate their active citizenry.

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                                                                                                                          • Rodríguez, Chantal. “Performing Latinidad in Los Angeles: Pan-Ethnic Approaches in Contemporary Latina/o Theater Performance.” PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2009.

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                                                                                                                            By offering an original analysis of contemporary Latino/Latina theater in Los Angeles, the author convincingly shows how, through a thematic and formal focus on transnational migration, the staging of these plays fosters creation of a pan-Latino/Latina identity. Available online for purchase or by subscription.

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                                                                                                                            • Vásquez, Víctor. “The Development of Pan-Latino Philadelphia, 1892–1945.” Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 128.4 (2004): 367–384.

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                                                                                                                              Detailed and innovative historical case study of the evolution of a pan-Latino community in the Southwark neighborhood, by mostly Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Spanish tobacco and cigar workers, via the foundation of community groups, such as El Fraternal. Available online by subscription.

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