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Latinas/os on the East Coast

A Critical Reader


Edited By Yolanda Medina and Ángeles Donoso Macaya

Latinas/os on the East Coast: A Critical Reader provides a comprehensive overview of established and contemporary research and essays written about communities that represent the Latina/o diaspora on the East Coast of the United States. Collectively, it contributes to the historical, cultural, political, and economic dynamics that affect the Latinas/os’ lived experience of the country. Analyzed through an interdisciplinary lens, this reader offers a critical examination of the policies and the practices that affect the following current and emerging themes and topics: History; Ethnicity and culture; Immigration, transnationalism, and civil rights; Education; Health; Women’s studies; Film and media studies; Queer studies; Literature; Visual and performing arts.
This book is an indispensable resource for scholars, researchers, educators, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as any individual, group, or organization interested in issues that affect Latinas/os in the United States in current times.
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Dominican-American Auto-Ethnographies: Considering the Boundaries of Self-Representation in Julia Álvarez and Junot Díaz


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Dominican-American Auto-Ethnographies

Considering the Boundaries of Self-Representation in Julia Álvarez and Junot Díaz1

Aitor Ibarrola-Armendariz

I write to find out what I’m thinking. I write to find out who I am. I write to understand things. Of course there’s an edge, especially once you’re doing it professionally. You realize that you’ve got readers who are along with you on the voyage of trying to understand things. So you also feel a responsibility to them (Julia Álvarez, in “The Politics of Fiction”)

You come to the United States and the United States begins immediately, systematically, to erase you in every way, to suppress those things which it considers not digestible. You spend a lot of time being colonized. Then, if you’ve got the opportunity and the breathing space and the guidance, you immediately—when you realize it—begin to decolonize yourself. And in that process, you relearn names for yourself that you had forgotten. (Junot Díaz, in “Fiction Is the Poor Man’s Cinema”)


The two statements above by Dominican-American authors Julia Álvarez and Junot Díaz may easily be read as evidence of the serious dilemmas that ethnic minority writers come up against every time they initiate that painstaking process of cultural assertion and individual self-realization that reflecting on their hybrid past inevitably entails. A great deal has been written recently about the substantial benefits that these writers may obtain if they manage...

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