• The 20th Century Geopoetics of the American Southwest

    Francisco Robles (see profile)
    CLCS 20th- and 21st-Century, LLC 20th- and 21st-Century American, LLC Chicana and Chicano, TC Ecocriticism and Environmental Humanities
    American literature, Ecocriticism, Latin American literature, Geography and literature, Indian literature
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    NeMLA Annual Conference
    Conf. Org.:
    southwest, southwestern literature, Environmental humanities, Geopoetics, Literary geography, Native American literature
    Permanent URL:
    The Southwest is: an atomic testing zone, a paradise, a penal colony, a frontier, a mineral paradise, a fertile space, an arid zone, a forsaken wilderness, a region of mind-boggling biodiversity, an aesthetic haven, a brutal and ugly corpse-field, a mythical highway, the Devil’s Highway, everything, and nothing. This paper begins as an overview of several narrative trends that feature the Southwest as a literary space. 20th C. Native American Literature of the Southwest has given nature a primary narrative place. Nature is resonant and enables a dialectics of self-discovery and healing. Anglo American Literature often sees the Southwest as a wilderness against which to encounter one’s identity—Nature must be confronted and overcome for both national and personal reasons. Chicano Literature asserts and celebrates the myth of Aztlán, and this paper will specifically consider the highly political and experimental Chicano novels of the 1970s. I will also briefly discuss the much smaller, but incredibly revealing and important African American and Japanese American literary contributions to Southwestern Literature. Ultimately, I argue for the importance of drawing a literary map of the Southwest that takes into account each and every quirk, turn, and contestation provided by the many narrative strands I will investigate. The literary topography of this unique space is one that we must continue to consider for the sake of collective identities, environmental safekeeping, existential exploration, and (inter)national politics for quite some time to come.
    Last Updated:
    7 years ago


    Item Name: docx franciscoroblesnemlapaper2013.docx
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