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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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Women’s Bodies, Lesbian Passions


Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes

Like the majority of Puerto Rican gay and lesbian writers in the U.S.A., I left because of persecutions—even from the police—for my sexual preference.

—Luzma Umpierre, interview with Marie José Fortis

At times lesbian women have found Puerto Rico to be a place of intolerance or of limited opportunities and have migrated elsewhere as a form of liberation or escape. This is very much the case of Luz María Umpierre, a groundbreaking poet, scholar, and human rights activist, who left the island in 1974 and has lived in the United States ever since.1 The analysis of her life and work, especially of her production from the 1970s and 1980s, can offer us valuable insights as to what might be some of the particularities of queer Puerto Rican women’s migratory experiences, and how these experiences change according to historical moment and general social trends. Umpierre’s production is in many ways a reflection of the times she wrote in and of the dominant strands of feminist and nationalist Puerto Rican politics that were articulated in the 1970s and 1980s and that she helped to define but also challenged and rewrote. The author forms part of a strong and very vocal feminist movement, one that had very diverse ideas about the best solutions to women’s problems, including empowerment, recognition, validation, willful scandal, transgression, the violation of taboos, or even (for some women) lesbian separatism; this movement was also profoundly...

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