Brown on Brown: Chicano/a Representations of Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity

Brown on Brown: Chicano/a Representations of Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity

Brown on Brown: Chicano/a Representations of Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity

Brown on Brown: Chicano/a Representations of Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnicity

Excerpt

I write: In the beginning was the Act.

— JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, faust

Do not read any more—look!
Do not look any more—go!

— PAUL CELAN, ENGFüHRUNG

My subject here is sex, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and the self. Notwithstanding its multifaceted difficulties and complexities, I see it as a joyous, lively, complex, frequently surprising, and altogether gratifyingly controversial topic. One that has been treated in literature, cinema, and the arts from every angle of vision and from all ideological perspectives and yet remains as fresh and as inexhaustible as ever. One that bears a very close and concrete relationship with every aspect of our social existence, activity, and status and that is nonetheless often concealed or shut away in the private sphere or approached in mainly [universal,] [impersonal,] and more or less [deterministic] terms that variously characterize it as either a biological feature (male and female genitals, hormones, genes), an instinct (sexual energy, drive, libido, a certain entity situated between the somatic and the mental), or a fundamentally unintentional/unconscious component of life. One that plays an essential defining role for every human being as a [self,] as a unique and independent agent/subject to which criteria such as those of freedom of will, responsibility, and accountability apply. And yet it continues to be largely terra incognita in the empirical and testable research fields of the social sciences and even psychology. Lastly, the topic has been the object of much speculative theorizing in poststructuralist cultural and literary studies on the basis of certain untested, untestable, and speculative ideas taken from philosophy, psychoanalysis, and sociolinguistics.

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