Recovery and Digital Humanities

Welcome to Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s new blog page!

The Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (a.k.a. “Recovery”) has recently been awarded  grants from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. These grants will fund the Recovery’s recent initiative to create the first digital humanities center to focus on U.S. Latina/o Studies.

Things to look for on the blog as Recovery moves forward include: bilingual posts on archival material, digital exhibitions of selected collections, digital humanities projects, collaborations across disciplines and institutions, digital humanities workshops, and more! Make sure to follow us on Twitter at @APPRecovery and like our page on Facebook.

Support Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage! Become a member. Be a donor. Make a difference. You can download the Membership registration form here.

Membership benefits include:

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U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

A $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has been awarded to the University of Houston to establish a first-of-its-kind U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

Read the complete news release here: U.S. Latino Digital Humanities Program to Launch at UH with Mellon Foundation Grant

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) has digitized hundreds of thousands of documents once at risk of being lost forever — from books and newspapers to manuscripts and personal papers — and made them available for international distribution.

Museum Survey

Map of the US Southwest that displays pinned locations of institutions that contain Hispanic archival materials

Over the course of the twentieth century, commensurate with the growth of the Latino population, many local libraries, historical societies, small museums and collections within colleges and universities in the Southwest have become repositories of Hispanic/Latino materials. However, these valuable collections are not well documented and, in some cases, there is risk of damage to the collections. This is largely due to the lack of adequate resources and training at these institutions, both large and small, such that these materials are often held in below standard conditions and are unknown to the scholarly community potentially interested in them.

In 2017-2018, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage conducted a survey of small historical societies, libraries and museums in the Southwest that might hold Hispanic archival materials and to assess how they were preserved and made accessible. The survey results were published on Recovery’s website to serve as a guide to Hispanic materials at small institutions.

The final phase of the project involved inviting personnel from these small institutions to a meeting to offer us feedback and other projects that could plan out a larger, second project and to offer basic training to the personnel at these collections, to help stabilize the collections and make them accessible.

In summary 358 surveys were distributed. Of these, 59 were completed and returned. This effort was followed up with phone and email contacts to 36 institutions. Of the final list of 36 organizations reporting fully, we invited 18 to come to Houston for a full-day conference; of these 8 attended and participated in the conference. The final “Guide” published on Recovery’s website includes the full report of holdings of these institutions, the types of institutions and their needs; in these, there was a considerable amount of Hispanic archival materials identified, so as to justify the need for this project.

On Friday April 27, 2018, we brought in the historical society directors to the University of Houston to give us feedback, receive some training and plan the next steps.

Nicolás Kanellos, Ph. D.
Brown Foundation Professor of Hispanic Studies
Director, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage

To view the digital project, please visit: Survey of Small Historical Societies, Libraries and Museums for Hispanic Materials and Their Management

Nuestra Historia: Alonso S. Perales Exhibit

On May 14, 2019, in a collaboration between the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Council 60, the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Público Press, and SERJobs, members of the community gathered to celebrate the launch of the Alonso S. Perales Digital Archive. Among those in attendance was Perales’ daughter, Marta Perales Carrizales. This digital archive marks the first digitized collection on the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Archives site.

Alonso S. Perales was one of the most prominent US Civil rights leaders of the twentieth century. He was born in Alice, Texas in 1898. Perales served in the US Army during World War I. After his military service, he attended college and law school at the National University (which later became George Washington University). Upon receiving his law degree, Perales became only the third Mexican American to practice law in Texas (Olivas xi). Perales dedicated his life to Mexican American civil rights and empowering the working-class community through knowledge and education. In 1929, Perales co-founded of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC)–the first nationwide Mexican American civil rights organization, not to mention the largest and oldest US Latino political association. He served as the second LULAC national president from 1930 to 1931 (xiv). In addition to his work in the United States, Perales served as Nicaraguan Consul General for twenty-five years and as counsel to the Nicaraguan delegation to the United Nations in 1945. In addition, he helped draft the original Charter of the United Nations. Perales authored Are We Good Neighbors and two volumes of En defensa de mi raza. His writing stressed the need for anti-discrimination legislation and civil activism for the Latino community.

Alonso S. Perales Collection

The Alonso S. Perales Collection is Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage’s flagship online digital archive. In 2009, Marta Perales Carrizales and Raymond Perales donated their father’s extensive personal papers to the University of Houston’s Recovery Program. This collection, which measures over 40 linear feet, contains correspondence, photographs, newspaper clippings, civil rights writings, and foundational documents related to LULAC. The online digital collection includes a large sampling of these documents. To facilitate accessibility, the digital documents include full-text transcriptions and bilingual keywords for searches. In the future, more US Latino digital archives will be added to the Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections (available at: usldhrecovery.uh.edu). The original Alonso S. Perales Papers are housed at the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

Are We Good Neighbors? Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas

Screenshot of Are We Good Neighbors? : Mapping Discrimination Against Mexican Americans in 1940s Texas. https://arcg.is/1C1bbv

Perales’ activism also included the empowerment of his community. He urged people to publicly share experiences of discrimination, including the names and addresses of businesses where they were refused service. Many of the testimonies sworn to him in his capacity as Notary Public appeared in his book, Are We Good Neighbors?

The digital mapping project, Are We Good Neighbors?, uses the information in these testimonials to locate these incidents on a map in an attempt to reveal the embodiment of racism. One after another, these accounts tell stories of everyday life: going out for dinner with family, spending time with friends, looking for employment, or moving to a new house. Yet, for people of Mexican descent, these activities were marked by disgust, hatred, shame, and even violence. This project highlights the personal history of racism, one that takes place in our own neighborhoods to real people, rather than distanced through abstract statistics.

Twitter: @AlonsoSPerales

The Alonso S. Perales Collection Twitter Bot (@AlonsoSPerales) also strives to bring attention to his activism. This Twitter account automatically posts quotations (in English and Spanish) from Perales’ writing and allows his voice to continue to advocate for education, equality, and justice.

The Perales Collection is extremely important for our understanding of the historical trajectory of US Latinx civil rights. The documents in this collection reveal the ways our community refused to remain silent, even in the face of persecution. Civil rights leaders such as Perales fought for justice long before the 1960s Civil Rights Movement. The history embedded in this collection is not readily available in K-12 history books. We hope that digital projects such as these can empower our community through education and help Latina/o/x schoolchildren see themselves reflected in US history in a positive light.

Organizers

LULAC is the largest and oldest Hispanic Organization the United States. LULAC advances the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, housing, health and civil rights of Hispanic Americans through community-based programs operating at more than 1,000 LULAC councils nationwide.

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (“Recovery”) is an international program at the University of Houston dedicated to locating, preserving, and disseminating Hispanic cultural documents of the United States written since colonial times until 1980. Recovery in the premier center for research on Latino documentary history in the United States.

Arte Público Press is the oldest and largest Hispanic publisher in the United States. Established in 1979, it is the principal provider of cultural materials on Latino life in the United States for general and educational audiences.

SERJobs is a nonprofit community organization that educates and equips people in the Texas Gulf Coast Region who come from low-income backgrounds or who have significant barriers to employment.

Further Reading

Olivas, Michael A. (ed.) In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals. Arte Público Press, 2012.

Orozco, Cynthia E. No Mexicans, Women, or Dogs Allowed: The Rise of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. University of Texas Press, 2009.

Saldaña, Hector. “Unsung Hero of Civil Rights: ‘Father of LULAC’ A Fading Memory.” Practicing Texas Politics.

Sloss Vento, Adela. Alonso S. Perales: His Struggle for the Rights of the Mexican American. Artes Gráficas, 1977.

Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

Houston Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon

Last month, The Black Lunch Table (BLT) project teamed up with Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage/Arte Público Press to host a Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon to create, update, and improve Wikipedia articles related to US Latinx authors, artists, academics, and organizations as well as people from the African Diaspora.

Students and scholars from across the country joined us in personal and virtually from the University of Houston, Pace University, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, the University of Texas-Arlington, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas A&M Prairie View University, Houston Community College, and The Colorado College.

33 beginners and experts alike worked together to add a grand total of 11, 400 words, edit 31 articles, create 192 edits, upload 3 commons files, and create 1 brand new article.

We look forward to hosting similar events in the future!

To read more about BLT, please visit Wikipedia: Meetup/BlackLunchTable/ListofArticles

Welcome, Volunteers

Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage (Recovery) welcomes its newest volunteers, María Borjas and Sonia Del Hierro.

María is a University of Houston undergraduate, majoring in Psychology.

Sonia is a Rice University doctoral graduate student in the Department of English.

Bienvenidas y gracias!

Call for Abstracts: XV Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference

Histories and Cultures of Latinas: Suffrage, Activism and Women’s Rights

February 20-22, 2020
University of Houston
Houston, Texas

The XV Recovery conference will convene in Houston from February 20 to 22, 2020 to continue the legacy of scholars meeting to discuss and present their research. The conference theme invites scholars—including archivists, librarians, linguists, historians, critics, theorists and community members–to share examples of the cultural legacy they are recovering, preserving and making available about the culture of the Hispanic world whose peoples resided here, immigrated to or were exiled in the United States over the past centuries. This conference foregrounds the work of Latinas that focuses on women’s rights, suffrage and education as we usher in a new phase of feminist critical genealogies. We seek papers, panels and posters in either English or Spanish that highlight these many contributions, but also offer us critical ways to rethink issues of agency, gender, sexualities, race/ethnicity, class and power. Of particular interest are presentations about digital humanities scholarship, methods and practices on these themes.   

The end date for Recovery research and themes will now be 1980 in order to give scholars, archivists, linguists and librarians the stimulus needed to begin recovering the documentary legacy of the 1960s and 1970s, which is fast disappearing. We encourage papers or panels that make use of archival research that provokes a revision of established literary interpretations and/or historiographies. Papers or posters on locating, preserving and making accessible movement(s) documents generated by Latinas and Latinos in those two decades will be welcome. Studies on the following themes, as manifested before 1960, will be welcome:

  • Digital Humanities
  • Analytical studies of recovered authors and/or texts
  • Critical, historical and theoretical approaches to recovered texts    
  • Curriculum development: Integrating recovered texts into teaching at university and K-12 levels
  • Religious thought and practice
  • Folklore/oral histories
  • Historiography
  • Language, translation, bilingualism and linguistics
  • Library and information science
  • Social implications, cultural analyses
  • Collections and archives: accessioning and critical archive studies    
  • Documenting the long road/struggle toward equality
  • 1960-1980 only movement(s)-related research 

Additionally, XV Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference will offer two US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH; #usLdh) pre-conference workshops open to conference attendees and members of the public. The workshop themes are: 1) Using Recovery archives for traditional scholarship and 2) Introduction to Digital Humanities. Pre-registration is required, a limited number of scholarships may be available. We welcome general audiences including undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduate students are encouraged to submit proposals for poster presentations. 

Submit your 250-word abstract for papers/posters and vitae by email to recovery@uh.edu by August 31, 2019

For details, email us at recovery@uh.edu 

To download the PDF, click here.

University of Houston, Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage
4902 Gulf Fwy., Bldg. 19, Room 100 – Houston, TX 77204-2004 

Sergio Troncoso introduces Arte Público Press

On March 14, 2019, Arte Público Press (APP) received the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandroff Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. This is the transcript of the introductory speech by author, Sergio Troncoso.

Arte Público Press has taken up as their difficult task to make a community visible that has been, relatively speaking, invisible, certainly at many of the expensive offices of the publishing world in New York. Arte Público is—as you know—the oldest and largest publisher of Latino literature in the United States. Since Dr. Nicolás Kanellos founded Arte Público in Houston in 1979, what has mattered is that the struggle to create relevant, high-quality work by Latino authors and for the Latino community is now more important than ever.

With about thirty books published every year, Arte Público is at once creating the future as well as preserving the past. For example, the press has focused on linking to schools to recognize Latino literary creativity: it is the largest licensor of literary materials to textbooks in the United States for the Hispanic market, and its imprint, Piñata Books, focuses on literature for children and young adults. Arte Público also conducts the largest program to recover all documents and books written by Latinos from the 16th Century to 1960, with the project “Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage.”

You want the largest minority in the United States to read? Well, you better start focusing on writers who know the many variations of the Latino community and you need to start publishing and promoting these writers. Arte Público has been doing that for decades.

You want to get majority audiences to consider ‘Latino literature’ as quintessentially ‘American literature,’ the literature of the outsider and of immigrants, the literature of multilingual communities, the literature of civil rights and of finding a home in a strange new world? Well, you better start reaching into schools and communities so that the stereotypes of what people think about the United States-Mexico border, for example—in Fargo, North Dakota or on Manhattan’s Upper East Side—are upended by great books that encourage you to think, encourage to consider these new, often young communities as groups of Americans trying to make it here just as your ancestors once did. Yes, Arte Público has been in the empathy business fighting for Latinos before most of us in this room became writers.

Pat Mora, Luis Valdez, Manuel Ramos, Nicholasa Mohr, Miguel Piñero, Américo Paredes, Sandra Cisneros, Graciela Limón, Luis Leal, Nina Jaffe, Rolando Hinojosa, Lyn Di Iorio, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Diane Gonzales Bertrand, Miguel Algarín, and so many more Arte Público authors have sold tens of thousands of books and won hundreds of awards. Arte Público has been introducing, creating, and expanding this Latino literary landscape for all of us.

My own experience with Arte Público is that Director Nicolás Kanellos is a committed scholar of all things Latino, an advocate for his authors, and a tough negotiator. I actually enjoyed the give-and-take with Nick, who is the heart and soul of Arte Público. Yes, the warm and fuzzy feelings of finding a home for my book of essays, Crossing Borders, and my novel, The Nature of Truth, and my international anthology of essays, Our Lost Border, all of these feelings were there. But more importantly, I knew as a writer that they understood what I was doing on the page, they understood the readers I wanted to reach, they cared about the many communities I wanted to change. In short, Arte Público has had the same mission that I’ve always had: they want to give voice to those who want in to this American experiment, and they want to do it so that these voices are authentic and true to the people in places like Ysleta in El Paso, Texas or El Barrio of Spanish Harlem.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention two of my other favorite people at Arte Público: Assistant Director Marina Tristan and Executive Editor Gabriela Baeza. Both are at the center of what makes Arte Público thrive in the literary trenches. As an author at Arte Público, you know it’s about connecting with readers, and this all starts with connecting with the people who are publishing your book. At every stage of the publishing process, this personal attention is what turns your book into something much more than a commodity to make some money or a marketing plan to cover the huge overhead of offices on Broadway: with Marina and Gabi, your book becomes well-crafted words to reach and advance a community you love: a work of art that matters. Arte Público. That’s why I published with them, and that’s why I am proud that Arte Público is the recipient of the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

Arte Público Press Receives NBCC Award: Acceptance Speech Transcript

Photography: Paper Monday

On March 14, 2019, Arte Público Press (APP) received the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandroff Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. This is the transcript of the acceptance speech by the APP director and founder, Nicolás Kanellos, and the management team, Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Nellie González, Marina Tristan, and Carolina Villarroel.

NK:           When we founded Arte Público Press forty years ago, we envisioned it as part of the public art movement. Our books would draw from and give back to the community, reflecting its art, history and culture as well as its problems, like the muralists were doing. That is why some of our initial book covers, such as for The House on Mango Street, were commissioned to muralists.

MPT:        Like the mural walls, our pages would help to make our people visible, announcing we are here, we have always been here and we have always contributed to life and culture in the United States. From the start, we were inclusive of all Latino ethnicities, religions and genders, and sought to combat stereotypes while inserting ourselves into the national identity. As we grew, the mural became a mosaic with each book becoming an individual tile in a large spectrum of varied images.

 NG:          Like our writers, we are mostly children of the working class, the children of citizens, of families that have been here since before the founding of the United States.

NK:           I was an assembly line worker and a shipping clerk weaving my box-laden dolly through Seventh Avenue traffic in the garment district during the 1960s. Others come from humble backgrounds, doing domestic work, farm work and other manual labor.

CV:           We are the people selling the morning newspaper but never appearing in it, the men and women washing dishes and waiting tables but never savoring the meals; we are among the crowds on city sidewalks who individually remain invisible, never thought of as writers and artists. It matters not that we are descendants of original settlers, intermarried with indigenous peoples and descendants of African slaves, whether immigrants from long ago or just yesterday, because no matter how long Latino families have resided in and contributed to the making of this country, we have been seen as foreigners.

GBV:        No matter how well we spoke and wrote the King’s English, or how faithfully we reproduced the canons of American literature and culture, our books remained foreign to the mainstream press and, with a few notable exceptions, outside the scope of national awards. Now, thanks to your magnanimity, we will become more visible, recognizable as part of this grand cultural venture that is the creation and publication of books. Muchísimas gracias.

Photograph by Nancy Crampton

See also:

Ayala, Elaine. “A Texas publisher is honored for putting great Latino literature between hard covers and on shelves.” San Antonio Express-News. 21 March 2019. https://www.expressnews.com/news/news_columnists/elaine_ayala/article/A-Texas-publisher-is-honored-for-putting-great-13704479.php

Cardenas, Cat. “Houston’s Arte Público Gets a 40th Birthday Present.” TexasMonthly. 14 March 2019. https://www.texasmonthly.com/the-culture/arte-publico-press-literary-award-nbcc/

González, Rigoberto. “National Book Critics Circle recognizes Arte Público Press as literary force.” NBC News. 14 March 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/national-book-critics-circle-recognizes-arte-p-blico-press-literary-n983286?fbclid=IwAR20-dRrUYp60siEw-Ho5CcVZTG2CHUi8-Dh76vc6G409DIsfR_F9pV2tw4

“National Book Critics Circle Awards.” National Book Critics Circle. http://bookcritics.org/awards

Valenzuela, Virginia. “Interview with Arte Público Press, 2019 NBCC Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award Winner.” The New School Creative Writing. 7 March 2019. https://newschoolwriting.org/interview-with-arte-publico-press-2019-nbcc-ivan-sandrof-lifetime-achievement-award-winner/?fbclid=IwAR12AZxBeFFt9v2rvy56_itduiNRtPsKe6lMk5LZs3X1vqjQF956e-NuCFs

Digital Hispanisms: Using Third World Feminism in DH

I gave the following talk on Jan. 5, 2019 at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Convention held in Chicago, IL.

This talk was part of a TC Digital Humanities sponsored roundtable on Digital Hispanisms with Alex Saum-Pascual (UC, Berkeley), Sylvia Fernández (U. of Houston), Nora Benedict (Princeton U), Vanessa Ceia (McGill U), Lorena Gauthereau (U. of Houston), Hilda Chacón (Nazareth College). This roundtable was designed to spark a conversation on the intersections between Digital Humanities (DH) and Hispanic Studies (HS). For all the speakers’ abstracts, please visit: https://mla.hcommons.org/groups/digital-humanities/forum/topic/mla19-582-roundtable-digital-hispanisms-2/

As we reflect on Digital Hispanisms in this roundtable, I want to briefly describe the types of theoretical frameworks and methodologies that emerge when engaging the digital humanities (DH) through US Latinx Studies. Specifically, I am interested in the groundwork laid by Chicana and Third World feminists. Rather than continuing to center hegemonic Anglophone theorists, I argue that by drawing from the lived experiences of Women of Color, we can shift the types of conversations taking place in the field of digital humanities. As a Woman of Color, I recognize that we cannot rely on hegemonic DH theory to acknowledge, much less accurately represent, our lived experiences and the digital stories we tell. As an example of DH discourse elaborated from the perspective of Third World feminism, I will discuss my mapping project, “Are We Good Neighbors?” and how my proposed theoretical framework highlights what is at stake in doing this type of DH: it’s a matter of humanizing a past that has all too often been silenced. Third World feminism accounts for the way that theory and lived experience meld, and stresses that the theoretical needs to be grounded in the flesh because our experiences cannot be separated from who we are.

Garcia, Adriana.  Liminal Incubation, 2012.

“Are We Good Neighbors?” is a story map that includes transcriptions of affidavits and maps incidents of discrimination against Mexican Americans in Texas during the 1940s. These affidavits are from the Alonso S. Perales Collection at the University of Houston’s Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage. Perales was one of the first Mexican Americans to practice law in the US and one of the co-founders of the civil rights organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens (or LULAC) (Olivas xi). In addition to practicing law, he was also a diplomat, veteran, civil rights activist, and author of two books: En defensa de mi raza (In Defense of My People) and Are We Good Neighbors?, from which I drew the digital project’s name. As part of his activism, Perales encouraged the Mexican American community to report discrimination and to call out, by name, the public establishments in which these incidents occurred. As a result, his archival collection includes hundreds of affidavits and letters.

One after another, these accounts tell stories of the quotidian: going out for dinner with family, spending time with friends, moving to a new house, riding the bus to school, or even going to the barber shop for a haircut. Yet, for Mexican Americans in the 1940s, these quotidian activities are marked by disgust, hatred, shame, fear, and even violence. And these negative affects are felt and worn on the body. Mapping these instances gives a materiality to the offenses, geolocating them in neighborhoods and commercial centers still frequented today. When the bodies of those who experienced this discrimination are long gone, it is our bodies that can physically stand in these places.

Framed through the lens of Third World feminists, such as Sara Ahmed, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Cherríe Moraga, “Are We Good Neighbors?” reveals the personal history of racism, one that takes place in our neighborhoods to real people, rather than distanced through abstract statistics. What becomes apparent when mapping these accounts is the personal and normalized embodiment of racism in the US. The juxtaposition of these affidavits and maps call people to be witnesses through time and affectively embed the experience in its physical location. These locations are often places that we can imagine ourselves in. Remembering injustices through this type of witnessing makes people of color visible, and is, as Ahmed writes, “about claiming an injustice did happen; this claim is a radical one in the face of the forgetting of such injustices” (2004; 200).

Take for example the affidavit sworn by Amada B. Quesnot, the mother of five-year old Eugene Quesnot. On November 13, 1941, she attempted to take little Eugene to M&S Clinic for treatment yet was turned away because of her ethnicity. Amada writes,

The lady in charge in the Social Workers Room asked me if I was Latin American and when I replied in the affirmative she stated that no Latin American children were accepted for treatment at that Clinic.

(Quesnot qtd. in Perales 204)
Quesnot, Amada , “Affidavit sworn by Amada Quesnot to Alonso S. Perales,” Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

Turned away, Amada insists upon her own legitimacy in her letter, tracing it through her US citizenship and both her husband’s and older son’s military service. She was born here, she protests. But her brown skin is read as un-American; and the brown skin of her five-year old child is read as undeserving of medical attention. Her decision to write the letter affirms her need to do something, to plead for political action. She documents a struggle, a status quo that needs to change. Her lived reality is tied to this political desire. Cherrie Moraga’s theory in the flesh makes this connection; a theory in the flesh, she writes, is a theory in which “the physical realities of our lives–our skin color, the land of concrete we grew up on, our sexual longings–all fuse to create a politic born out of necessity” (19). Echoing Moraga’s (1981) argument that theory is fused to the body, Sara Ahmed states that:

The personal is theoretical. Theory itself is often assumed to be abstract: something is more theoretical the more abstract it is, the more it is abstracted from everyday life. To abstract is to drag away, detach, pull away, or divert. We might then have to drag theory back, to bring theory back to life.

(2017; 10)

Gloria Anzaldúa’s (1987) mestiza consciousness then weaves these two together. It is the thread that ties the theory to the flesh. Anzaldúa imagines the mestiza putting

history through a sieve…This step is a conscious rupture with all oppressive traditions of all cultures and religions. She communicates that rupture, documents the struggle. She reinterprets history and, using new symbols, she shapes new myths.

(Anzaldúa 104)

Mestiza consciousness as an approach to DH calls us to read for the silences in historical narratives, to discard the frameworks that marginalize the experiences of people of color, and to invent new theories and methodologies that center our lived experiences.

Turning to Third World feminism in DH, then, reminds us to bring theory back to life, to bring it back to the lived experience. “Doing DH” isn’t just about the final product, but also about the process of dragging theory back and embodying it. Moreover, shifting the loci of enunciation from the center to the margin, reimagines DH not just as a site of knowledge-production, but also as a site of decolonial resistance and social justice. Our digital work does not need to be reduced to mere zeros and ones or replicate the canonical archive of dead white men’s work, but instead can be a space to reclaim lost histories, reveal injustices, and demand that our voices be heard. Allow me to end with one last Ahmed quotation in order to highlight the importance of thinking through DH via Third World feminism; I ask that you reflect on digital scholarship and digitized archives as I read this: “Your texts are littered with love. Words can pulse with life; words as flesh, leaking; words as heart, beating.” (2017; 230). Thank you.

Works cited

Ahmed, Sara. Cultural Politics of Emotion. Routledge, 2014.

_____. Living a Feminist Life. Duke University Press, 2017.

Anzaldúa, Gloria E. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Aunt Lute Books, 1987.

Moraga, Cherríe and Gloria E. Anzaldúa. This Bridge Called My Back.Writings by Radical Women of Color. 4th ed., SUNY Press, 2015.

Olivas, Michael A. (ed.) In Defense of My People: Alonso S. Perales and the Development of Mexican-American Public Intellectuals. Houston: Arte Público Press, 2012.

Quesnot, Amada , “Affidavit sworn by Amada Quesnot to Alonso S. Perales,” Alonso S. Perales Collection. Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage Digital Collections.

________________________________________

Lorena Gauthereau is a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow at Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage at the University of Houston. Find her online at https://lorenagauthereau.wordpress.com.

Arte Público Press Receives Prestigious National Literary Award

Houston, TX January 2019— The National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) has announced that Arte Público Press, the nation’s largest publisher of U.S.-based Hispanic authors, has received the prestigious Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Named after the first president of the NBCC, the award is given annually to a person or institution with an extensive history of significant contributions to book culture.

“The award comes as a total surprise because it typically goes to authors,” said Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, founder and director of Arte Público Press. “This recognition will help us amplify voices in Latino literature throughout the United States.”

The National Book Critics Circle Awards, considered among the most respected literary awards in America, are bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. Past recipients include Margaret Atwood and Pulitzer Prize-winner Toni Morrison.

“The University of Houston has given Arte Público Press an intellectual space in which to create and thrive, and has provided Latinos the opportunity to make a nationwide cultural imprint through literature,” said Dr. Kanellos. “I am proud that the Arte Público Press staff continues to strive for literary excellence. We labor not for our own recognition, but for the benefit of the authors we publish. Our mission to create a space for Latinos in the national culture guides us forward.”

The NBCC Awards will be presented on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at 6:30 pm at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium (66 W 12th Street, New York, NY 10011), and a finalists’ reading will be held on March 13, also at 6:30 pm at the same location. Both events are free and open to the public.

The National Books Critics Circle was founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel by a group of the most influential critics of the day. Comprising nearly 600 working critics and book-review editors throughout the country, the NBCC annually bestows its awards in six categories, honoring the best books published in the past year in the United States. The finalists for the NBCC awards are nominated, evaluated, and selected by the 24-member board of directors, which consists of critics and editors from some of the country’s leading print and online publications, as well as critics whose works appear in these publications. Arte Público Press is the nation’s largest and most established publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by U.S. Hispanic authors.  Its imprint for children and young adults, Piñata Books, is dedicated to the realistic and authentic portrayal of the themes, languages, characters, and customs of Hispanic culture in the United States. Based at the University of Houston, Arte Público Press, Piñata Books and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project provide the most widely recognized and extensive showcase for Hispanic literary arts and creativity.  For more information, please visit our website at www.artepublicopress.com.