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The Hispanic Image in Hollywood

A Postcolonial Approach


Jorge Barrueto

The Hispanic Image in Hollywood: A Postcolonial Approach offers an in-depth analysis of how Hispanics are represented in American cinema. Film production is a reflection of American historical processes that have defined Hispanics and American mainstream identity as oppositional forces in the domestic political establishment. Hispanic difference, as depicted in film, is understood as the by-product of Western philosophy, Western science, territorial expansion, colonialism and American nation building, wherein Hispanics have been identified as the antithetical, ubiquitous Other. More precisely, specific Hollywood films not only mirror American history but also a variety of political discourses that have defined Hispanic identity. Thematic categories of American history used to construct Hispanics reflect, in many ways, a deep-rooted, Eurocentric, colonial worldview. As the research of this book clearly shows, film depictions of Hispanics have created negative visual taxonomies based on gender, race, and class.


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Notes 171


Notes Introduction 1 The 17-minute silent film is about the life of a Hispanic family in California. The film has no Hispanic actors. 2 Antonio Ríos-Bustamante, “Latino Participation in the Hollywood Film Industry, 1911– 1945,” in Chicanos and Film: Representation and Resistance, ed. Chon A. Noriega (Minneapolis: University of Minneapolis Press, 1992), 21; Ana Liberato et al., “Latinidad and masculinidad in Hollywood scripts,” Ethnic & Racial Studies 32, no. 6 (2009): 949– 950; Charles Ramírez Berg, Latino Images in Film: Stereotypes, Subversion, and Resistance (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002), 38–39, 67–76. Latino and Hispanic are ethnic terms for US residents, whether citizens or immigrants, usually bearing Spanish surnames and whose language (besides English) is Spanish. Both designations will be used interchangeably. Latin America refers to the New World geographies where Spanish, Portuguese and French are spoken. It also alludes to culture and politics of the region. Hispanics and Latin Americans can be of any race. For more information see Roberto Valdeón, “The use of Latin American, Hispanic and Latino in US academic articles, 2000–2010,” Terminology 19, no. 1 (2013): 112–121. 3 Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English language, s.v. “representation.” 4 Stuart Hall, “Representation, meaning and language,” in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practice, ed. Stuart Hall (London: Sage, 1997), 15–23. 5 Jacques Derrida, “Différance,” in A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, ed. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 61–64, 71–77. 6 Arthur Pettit and Dennis...

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