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Latinidades and the Repository Function of the Poetic

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This dissertation’s critical nexus—the intersection of archival theory, archival practice, and poetics—is directly concerned with the poetic original and its flowerings, with attention to their archival functions in a contemporary context. Reading the poetic as a type of Anzaldúian narrative nepantla allows for the exploration of cultural and sociopolitical tensions that force the creation of a transformative space. My use of the term narrative nepantla is drawn from Gloria Anzaldúa’s concept of the nepantla as a borderland in-between state which is the product of cultural and sociopolitical othering. I am relating narrative to nepantla space in order to situate my research on Latin American poetics within fringe, de-centered, border-oriented perspectives which articulate the violence of their own genesis. Critically reading hybrid texts which translate the poetic into variant mediums is part of the process of inscribing official history with a spectrum of counter-histories which have resisted erasure. Like an archival document or object in a museum or government office, the poetic is a part of a larger system of production and sociocultural reality—but the poetic does not depend on an institutionally mandated call for collection and cataloguing. This dissertation addresses Latin American perspectives which are often tethered to traumatic events past, cultural erasure, and contemporary sociopolitical crises on a paradoxically personal-public scale. Ethnic minority counter-histories, art movements, testimonies, and ceremonial practices are in danger of erasure due to the lack of efforts to identify and preserve. Critically reading and researching the realities manifest in the narrative nepantla poetic, using decolonizing methodologies, may mitigate the erasure of racialized and marginalized American histories which are decolonizing systems of knowledge. Poetic discourse can be accessed and understood in critical terms that orient the spectrum of poetic form toward a decolonized reality. These chapters touch upon works by Julia de Burgos, Maceo Montoya, and Luis Valdez. Works by Walt Whitman and Allen Ginsberg are also explored in relation to Gloria Anzaldua’s poetics in Borderlands/La Frontera.

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