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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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Chicano Literature: The Theme Of Cultural Resistance
Program #

Linda Fregoso
Juan Rodríguez, Raul Salinas
Oct 14, 1980

Chicano Literature: the theme of cultural resistance

Juan Rodriguez, a professor in the Center for Mexican American Studies, discusses the development of Chicano literature and poet Raul Salinas reads some of his work. Rodriguez explains that Chicano literature largely reflects its working class origins. He then discusses the different types of Chicano literature. He explains that it originated in the late 19th century and is infused with Chicano struggles against Anglo domination in the southwest. This theme appears in multiple genres of Chicano literature, including corridos, legends, and jokes, which were passed on orally and only later recorded. He argues that because of limited educational opportunities, Chicanos did not fully develop a written literary tradition until after World War II.

In the mid-1960s, poetry became the most popular form of Chicano literature, in part because activists could easily incorporate poems into political speeches, demonstrations or newspapers. Salinas then reads from his poem, “Un trip through the Mind Jail.”

Rodriguez next discusses drama and its popularity among Chicanos. He traces its roots to Luis Valdez’ Teatro Campesino which appealed to Chicanos of various class backgrounds. Rodriguez also explains the novel’s limited appeal in the middle of the century. Rodriguez then discusses the popularity of cultural resistance as a theme in Chicano literature. He explains that contemporary Chicano writers have sought to use their work to educate the community about its indigenous heritage. Rodriguez concludes with a brief discussion of recent efforts to increase the distribution of Chicano literature.


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

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