On Migrant Imaginaries by Schmidt-Camacho and Borderlands/La Frontera by Anzaldua

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In Migrant Imaginaries Schmidt-Camacho provides a view on the transnational movements of Mexican migrants toward United States from the 1920s onwards. The relationship between the Mexican culture and the social movements created by the migration is analyzed through the focus on some important historical moments (the 1930s, the Chicano Movement, contemporary globalization and neoliberalism). Borderlands/la Frontera is a text that deals with the concept of ‘border’ not only in the physical but also in the figurative meaning; Anzaldua uses her own experiences as a Chicana, as a lesbian and as an activist to challenge the conception of a border as a simple divide. In both texts, what stands up most is how identity could be a difficult concept to define due to the implication that the migration and the condition of migrant dictate on people. What does the term “identity” mean for a migrant? This is the question, that in my opinion is raised by the reading of the works by Schmidt-Camacho and Anzaldua. Usually identity is an umbrella term used throughout the social sciences to describe a person's conception and expression of their individuality or group affiliations (such as national identity and cultural identity). But this conception of identity is challenged everyday in migrant communities by the circumstances of their lifestyle in a different country and to define it correctly one have to analyze all the consequences of the cross-boarding. In order to outline the different ways both texts lead to a deep comprehension of the concept of Identity in migrant communities, I will develop the ideas of migrant melancholia and mestiza consciousness, as they are provided from the texts, comparing and contrasting the two points of views and pointing out how in the end both concepts are useful to define the status of migrant.

Migrant melancholia as defined by Camacho as, “… an emergent mode of migrant subjectivity that contests the dehumanizing effects of the unauthorized...
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