In the Spirit of a New People
The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement
Published by: NYU Press
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.
"In the Spirit of a New People provides a thoughtful analysis of how the Chicano movementand social justice struggles more generallycan influence politics and culture." ~The Journal of American History
"The books strengths lie in its reading of cultural texts, especially the visual work of Barraza; performances of El Teatro Campesino; and the writing of Cisneros, Rodolfo & Corky Gonzales, Enriqueta Vasquez, and others. Analyses of these varied works offer compelling support for Ontiveross larger argument that at least culturally the Chicano movement & didnt die at all. Contextualized in a broader history that dates to the Mexican Revolution of 1910, these examples provide persuasive evidence for the movements legacy beyond just demographic and electoral politics." ~The Journal of American History
"Elegantly demonstrates the Chicano movement's irrefutable influenceona politically astute and enduring legacy of expressive culture. Randy J.Ontiverospersuasively argues thatmovimiento-inspired art and literature offer a crucial dose of historical consciousness required for sustaining struggles for social justice. A game-changing intervention in Chicano/a and American studies,Ontiveross book moves us beyond reductionist claims and rehashed debates to reinvigorate Chicano movement scholarship." ~Richard T. Rodriguez,author of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics
"In the Spirit of a New Peoplesucceeds in its argument for recuperating elements of Chicana/o cultural nationalism from the 1960s and the 1970s as it was and continues to be embedded in Chicana/o art as a framework and impetus for contemporary Chicana/o political action in the present." ~MELUS