SOU Meese Conference Room in the Hannon Library, 4:00 p.m.
Reception immediately following the lecture.
Click the image above or here to visit the speaker’s page
In “Letter to the Artist from His Son” Maceo Montoya writes his father, Chicano veteran and poet, Malaquias Montoya about what he perceives to be the failure of the Chicana/o Movement, particularly as it relates to the arts. Montoya tells his father, “But as I researched, reading the work of scholars and cultural critics commenting on forty years of el movimiento…I realized how little of your struggle remains…” In addition, Montoya sees that the demise of the movement is connected with artists themselves: “Sadly when artists forget or deny that their community defines them, then they play no part in its continual redefinition, in fleshing out its complexities and transmutations.”
In this lecture, I would like to argue that Maceo Montoya’s focus on the artist as a location for “blame” on the sustainability of a vibrant Chicana/o arts movement does not take into account the complexities of cultural production and its dependence on academics’ visions and institutional choices. Thus, I will be looking at three variables Montoya disregards. The first is academics’continued identification with a parochial Chicana/o nationalism. For this section of my lecture, I will do a reading of the book Imaginary Parents by Sheila and Sandra Ortiz Taylor. Here, I will suggest that persistent exclusionary nationalist definitions of what it means to be Chicana/o account for the resistance some texts meet, creating limited print runs which in turn limit the use/circulation these texts have in college classrooms. The second variable explored will be institutional constraints that necessarily limit the number of offerings that allow for the promulgation of Chicana/o art. The third variable is demographic populations in universities that necessarily affect curricular/text choices. Inaccessibility of some of these texts based on choices in academia, not artists’ act of forgetting, contributes to the lack of the “continual redefinition” of Chicana/o culture necessary for sustaining a vibrant movement.