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  • ICAA Record ID
    1061252
    AUTHOR
    Valdez, Luis
    TITLE
    Introduction: "La Plebe" / by Luis Valdez
    IN
    Aztlan : an anthology of Mexican American literature. -- New York : Vintage Books, 1972.
    DESCRIPTION
    p. xiii-xxxiv
    LANGUAGES
    English
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Valdez, Luis. "Introduction: 'La Plebe'." In Aztlan: an anthology of Mexican American literature, edited by Luis Valdez and Stan Steiner, xiii-xxxiv. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.
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Synopsis

In this document, Luis Valdez argues that as inheritors of a colonized consciousness, it is difficult for Chicano writers to articulate a cohesive cultural identity. He suggests that this difficulty can perhaps be negotiated through an embrace of the indigenous heritage to which he argues all Chicanos can lay claim. He details the roots of this heritage and its manifestations in certain foods, healing devices, and religious practices that appear in contemporary Chicano society. Valdez traces Chicano history from the initial moment of contact between indigenous Americans and their European conquerors in 1521, to the events preceding and following the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848 by means of which Mexico lost an immense territory from California to Texas, to the Revolution of 1910, and many others historically related events.

Annotations

Luis Valdez (b. 1940) is a playwright, director and founder of El Teatro Campesino, which he started as a means to support the unionizing efforts of the United Farm Workers in 1965. He is also a former professor at University of California, Berkeley, and California State University, Monterey Bay. This essay served as the introduction to the book Aztlan: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature, a foundational publication that brought together multiple perspectives and an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the burgeoning Chicano movement. Though the central focus of the essay is to highlight the long history of the Chicano community in an effort to underscore the legitimacy of its claims to sovereignty within the United States, more importantly, it is one of the earliest arguments for a continental “American” perspective and a succinct articulation of a Pan Latino tenet within the Chicano Movement.

Researcher
Tere Romo
Team
Chicano Studies Research Center, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
Credit
Courtesy of the Private Archives of Luis Valdez and El Teatro Campesino, San Juan Bautista, CA