In the Spirit of a New People

In the Spirit of a New People

The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement

American Literatures Initiative

by Randy J. Ontiveros

Published by: NYU Press

241 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 9 black and white illustrations

  • Paperback
  • ISBN: 9780814738771
  • Published: November 2013


  • Hardcover
  • ISBN: 9780814738849
  • Published: November 2013



Reexamining the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, In the Spirit of a New People brings to light new insights about social activism in the twentieth-century and new lessons for progressive politics in the twenty-first. Randy J. Ontiveros explores the ways in which Chicano/a artists and activists used fiction, poetry, visual arts, theater, and other expressive forms to forge a common purpose and to challenge inequality in America.

Focusing on cultural politics, Ontiveros reveals neglected stories about the Chicano movement and its impact: how writers used the street press to push back against the network news; how visual artists such as Santa Barraza used painting, installations, and mixed media to challenge racism in mainstream environmentalism; how El Teatro Campesino’s innovative “actos,” or short skits,sought to embody new, more inclusive forms of citizenship; and how Sandra Cisneros and other Chicana novelists broadened the narrative of the Chicano movement. In the Spirit of a New People articulates a fresh understanding of how the Chicano movement contributed to the social and political currents of postwar America, and how the movement remains meaningful today.