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Singing the Great Depression: Mexican and Mexican American Perspectives Through Corridos (1929-1949)

  • Author(s): Salinas, Michelle Salinas
  • Advisor(s): Terraciano, Kevin B
  • et al.
Abstract

This study attempts to create a holistic historical account of the Mexican communities' experiences in the United States during the repatriation period of the Great Depression (1929-1939), by centering their perspectives as expressed through song. Therefore, I will conduct a textual analysis of corridos that address repatriation and deportation. Abraham Hoffman describes the Repatriation period as one led by both federal and private community committees that organized to send immigrants back to their countries as a supposed attempt to relieve public resources and the labor market. I define corridos as a traditionally Mexican song form reinterpreted in the U.S. Southwest to express the Mexican diasporic experience. I will examine six corridos found in The Strachwitz Frontera Collection of Mexican and Mexican American Recordings digital archive. I am examining these sources because they have not been acknowledged enough within dominant scholarship, even though they provide substantial insight on how the Los Angeles Mexican communities were dialoguing about such events. By examining these primary sources through Lindsay P�rez Huber's (2010) Latina/o critical theory (LatCrit) and the concept of racist nativism, I aim to demonstrate how they serve as collective historical counter narratives to the mainstream accounts given by government and Anglo American media. These collective counter narratives not only combat a hegemonic account of the Great Depression, but they also challenge dominant Anglo American media sources. Therefore, my study will illustrate how these folkloric forms of expression served as media tools for cultural resistance within the Mexican migrant community living in the midst of persecution.

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