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Archivization and Its Alternatives: Toward a Critique of Chicana/o Religions and Spiritualities

  • Author(s): Morales, Joseph
  • Advisor(s): Saldívar, José D.
  • Rabasa, José
  • et al.

In this dissertation, I attempt to clarify a problem (i.e., how to think Chicana/o religion and spirituality in light of debates on the archive in South Asian and Latin American subaltern studies?) rather than propose a new approach to the question of the interpretation of Chicana/o religions (e.g., how to understand the relationship between Chicana/o cultural production and religious thought, practice, experience, expression, and so forth?).

In chapter 1, I consider the pros and cons of the history of religions and Chicana feminist thought as critical approaches to Chicana/o religion and spirituality. I conclude with the proposition that subaltern studies - and in particular, Spivak's notion of reading archivally - might add to the critical works of Davíd Carrasco and Laura E. Pérez. Chapter 2 examines Carrasco's attempt to link the history of religions to Chicana/o literary and cultural studies. I conclude with the assertion that such an approach may run the risk of reifying the religious/secular divide as hermeneutic foundation. In chapter 3, I turn to Pérez' distinction between secular religious studies and the politics of Chicana spirituality. I conclude with the suggestion that Chicana/o religion and spirituality might be read as a question of the archive. Chapter 4 argues that a critique of archival memory is central to debates on religion and spirituality in Chicana/o literary and cultural studies. I conclude with an exploration of archival silences within the Bancroft and Ethnic Studies libraries at the University of California, Berkeley.

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