Manos de Obra: Class, Race, Gender, and Colonial Affect-Culture in Mexican American Literature
Aranda, Jose F
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation takes up race and class as analytical categories and interrogates them in their specificity and entanglement with Marxist class analysis, critical race theory, Chicana feminist theory and Latin American postcolonial theory in order to read cultural narratives for the ways in which affect is always present and felt. This work distinguishes itself from prior class analysis, which was predicated upon the relationship between labor and capital. Instead, this project considers the way reading for affect and coloniality broadens our understanding of social organization and class formation. Specifically, "Manos de Obra" deepens the understanding of the colonial, racial, and gendered class formations that underwrote the Mexican American community prior to and especially as it culminated in the Chicana/o movement (1966-1977) and analyzes the literary representations of these intersections in Las aventuras de Don Chipote (1928), Los Repatriados (1935), “Los Vendidos” (1967), and …y no se lo tragó la tierra (1971). This chronological timeline reveals how historical and social conditions cumulatively formed the Chicana/o movement’s portrayal and understanding of Chicana/o life in the U.S. Manos de Obra intervenes in the fields of Chicana/o literary studies, Chicana feminist theory, Marxist class analysis, affect theory, and Latin American postcolonial theory. In order to add a new understanding of how to perform a class analysis, I propose the use of affect theory as part of my reading methodology. In so doing, I read for how colonial affect-culture gives embodied consent to racialized and gendered hierarchies, but also how “ugly feelings” can produce community, self, and other in the colonized and the colonizer.