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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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The Chicano Novel (Part II)
Program #

Alejandro Saenz
Ramon Saldivar
Jun 29, 1977

The Chicano Novel (Part II)

Dr. Ramon Saldivar discusses the major themes that contemporary Chicano authors explore through the novel. The authors disussed include Jose Antonio Villareal, Ron Arias, Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, and Oscar Zeta Acosta. Dr. Saldivar explains that issues in the Chicano community come to be present in the Chicano Novels. He emphasizes three genres: historical fiction, the rural pastoral , and an emerging urban life genre. . Saldivar claims that the emerging urban life genre reflects the long-standing Chicano presence in urban areas th.

The focus in the conversation revolved around themes: land, national identity, exploitation, nostalgia, duality, community tradition, consciousness. Many of the novels address the notion of duality of being both Mexican and American, or Catholic and not.

Early novels on the other hand were preoccupied with the Chicano relationship to the land and its many variations.Identity is a constant them in Chicano literature. Moreover, the political themes are a continuous presence in both rural and urban literature.

Duality extends to other areas, and is a source of tension for the characters. Chicano authors used the novel to question core beliefs and traditions, including and especially Catholicism. Dr. Saldivar says that the novel as a “genre of question” allows the authors to question the validity of absolutes and tease out the duality they perceive. Moreover, to do so Chicano authors position themselves on the periphery of society so that they are able to question predominant social values in the Chicano community, like Catholicism,.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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