Unspeakable Violence Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries Synopsis
Unspeakable Violence addresses the epistemic and physical violence inflicted on racialized and gendered subjects in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands from the mid-nineteenth century through the early twentieth. Arguing that this violence was fundamental to U.S., Mexican, and Chicana/o nationalisms, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernandez examines the lynching of a Mexican woman in California in 1851, the Camp Grant Indian Massacre of 1871, the racism evident in the work of the anthropologist Jovita Gonzalez, and the attempted genocide, between 1876 and 1907, of the Yaqui Indians in the Arizona-Sonora borderlands. Guidotti-Hernandez shows that these events have been told and retold in ways that have produced particular versions of nationhood and effaced other issues. Scrutinizing stories of victimization and resistance, and celebratory narratives of mestizaje and hybridity in Chicana/o, Latina/o, and borderlands studies, she contends that by not acknowledging the racialized violence perpetrated by Mexicans, Chicanas/os, and indigenous peoples, as well as Anglos, narratives of mestizaje and resistance inadvertently privilege certain brown bodies over others. Unspeakable Violence calls for a new, transnational feminist approach to violence, gender, sexuality, race, and citizenship in the borderlands.
Unspeakable Violence Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries Press Reviews
Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez's Unspeakable Violence takes on a lot of sacred cows from chicano(a) nationalism to Mexican indigenismo...One of the most exciting aspects of this book is its explicitly transnational approach. -- Elliott Young * Bulletin of Latin American Research * Unspeakable Violence has arrived on the scene like a breath of fresh air. . . . Unspeakable Violence further exemplifies how the most effective interdisciplinary scholarship is equally indebted to theoretical rigor and historical responsibility. Refusing to pull punches with its multifaceted assessment of Chicano nationalism and its unflinching methodological strategy, Guidotti-Hernandez's volume makes clear to historians the value of literary texts by writers like Jovita Gonzalez and Monserrat Fontes, whose indelible contributions to an evidential archive are necessary to a more composite record of the past. -- Richard T. Rodriguez * American Literature * Nevertheless, more work can be done to examine the interdisciplinary problems of investigating intersecting oppressions of race, class, gender, and nationality. Unspeakable Violence is a significant point of departure for this important work. -- Jason Oliver Chang * Hispanic American Historical Review * It is impossible, of course, to wrangle such a wide-ranging and intelligent study into a few easy quips, and to attempt to do so would go against the notion that Guidotti-Hernandez's examples of borderland violence reveal a complexity in Arizona's and Mexico's culture and history for which many historians, let alone politicians, don't always like to account. -- Tim Hull * Tucson Weekly * In this exquisite book, Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernandez examines little-known but critically important episodes of violence in U.S.-Mexican borderlands history. Providing a necessary, long-overdue corrective to Chicana/o and borderlands studies, she suggests that in recounting these events as instances of victimization or acts of resistance, Chicana/o feminist and nationalist scholars create tidy narratives for consolidating Chicana/o nationalist identity. In doing so, they disregard Mexican-American complicity in the very acts of violence they describe. -Maria Josefina Saldana-Portillo, author of The Revolutionary Imagination in the Americas and the Age of Development Unspeakable Violence is an outstanding analysis of violence in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. As a historian, I am most impressed by the care that Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernandez takes to ground her analysis in solid historical research. What I find so refreshing is her willingness to put forth courageous new arguments about what has been little discussed in Chicana/o studies, Latina/o studies, or ethnic studies more broadly. Rather than taking the standard approach of only analyzing violence when Latinas/os are the victims, Guidotti-Hernandez reveals borderlands violence in all of its complexity. This is exceptional scholarship. -George J. Sanchez, author of Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945