Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Postmodernism, historical materialism and Chicana/o cultural studies

Abstract

During the past two decades, critics have taken an interest in explaining the ideological ambivalence expressed in Chicana/o literature. Most critics correctly point out that Chicana/o ambivalence cannot be separated from the conflicted material realities historically experienced by Mexican Americans, but this view has not prevented some critics from tiptoeing into the idealist terrain of postruodernism. Postmodernist theory has provided Chicana/o criticism with conceptual tools for explaining the heterogeneity of culture, but its antagonism toward history and class analysis has limited the potential for Chicana/o studies to develop an effective social criticism. Two postmodernist terms used to describe ambivalence are "cultural schizophrenia" and "heterotopia." Historical materialism -a method that makes truth-claims about social existence after a rigorous critique of the concepts and ideas that emerge from that existence - stands as a - viable alternative to postmodernist theory for the interpretation of Chicana/o literature.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC Academic Senate's Open Access Policy. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View