Latino/a Popular Culture

Latino/a Popular Culture

Latino/a Popular Culture

Latino/a Popular Culture


Cover artwork by Diane Gamboa.

Latinos have become the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. While the presence of Latinos and Latinas in mainstream news and in popular culture in the United States buttresses the much-heralded Latin Explosion, the images themselves are often contradictory.

In Latino/a Popular Culture , Habell-Pallán and Romero have brought together scholars from the humanities and social sciences to analyze representations of Latinidad in a diversity of genres - media, culture, music, film, theatre, art, and sports - that are emerging across the nation in relation to Chicanas, Chicanos, mestizos, Puerto Ricans, Caribbeans, Central Americans and South Americans, and Latinos in Canada.

Contributors include Adrian Burgos, Jr., Luz Calvo, Arlene Dávila, Melissa A. Fitch, Michelle Habell-Pallán, Tanya Kateré Hernández, Josh Kun, Frances Negron-Muntaner, William A. Nericcio, Raquel Z. Rivera, Ana Patricia Rodr'guez, Gregory Rodriguez, Mary Romero, Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez, Christopher A. Shinn, Deborah R. Vargas, and Juan Velasco.

Cover artwork "Layering the Decades" by Diane Gamboa, 2002, mixed media on paper, 11 X 8.5". Copyright 2001, Diane Gamboa. Printed with permission.


Mary Romero and Michelle Habell-Pallán


“2000 Census Shows Latino Boom”

“Census Jolts Business World: Corporate America Suddenly Discover
ing the Latino Market”

“Bush: Respect Mexican Immigrants; President and Responding Dem
ocrats Broadcast in Spanish”

“Guard Stopped the Mexican Pediatrician Because of ‘Profiling,’ Her

Attorney Charges”
“Activists Say Border Patrol Targets All Latinos”
“Martin Kicks Off Inaugural Festivities; Bush Shares Stage with Pop


WHILE LATINO AND Latina images in mainstream news and in commercial and oppositional popular culture in the United States suggest a Latin explosion at center stage, the representations and circulating symbols are contradictory—celebrated and contested. How are we to understand the image of Ricky Martin shaking his inaugural bonbon with George W. Bush at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial or Bush’s Cinco de Mayo proclamation that “mi Casa Blanca, es su Casa Blanca”? How do the symbolic embrace of and dance with Ricky Martin—Latino pop star par excellence—by the leader of the nation (and the so-called free world) contradict and mask the nation’s current and historical record of treatment toward Latinos at home and abroad? Such public symbolism compels us to mark a new period in the struggle to represent “Latinidad.” Let us consider the provocative image of Ricky and George W.’s dance as a supreme example of the politics of image employed by . . .

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