Detrás de Cada Letra: Trauma and Healing in Chicana/o Literature
Ellis, Amanda V.
Aranda, José F
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation seeks to substantively place Chicana/o literary studies in dialogue with the field of trauma studies, a field in which the robustness of minority letters remain under-theorized. The legacies of British and Iberian colonization, the ongoing racialized abuses of communities, the Mexican cession of 1848, the continued struggle for civil rights, the recent censure of Ethnic Studies, are all events marked by systematic racial wounding. For this reason in order to understand trauma more comprehensively, I look to Chicana/o literature to analyze how trauma and healing continue to be theorized, and aesthetized within American writing. Tracing an aesthetic of trauma and healing throughout the Chicana/o literary corpus, this dissertation explores in detail a poetics that I insist reflects the relationship between trauma, colonial wounding, and the palliative function of Curanderismo. Opening in the sixteenth century in order to explore the relationship between coloniality, Americanity, and racial wounding, the project then turns to the twentieth and twenty-first century. Divided into five chapters, which define narrative broadly, I read closely to extract a cluster of ideas that comment on trauma and healing. Chapter I, examines the geopolitics of knowledge and Mesoamerican colonial writing. Chapter II, contemplates Curanderismo and the key concept figure of the Curandera across the archive by analyzing texts from disparate historical sections within the Chicana/o literary canon. Chapter III explores Américo Paredes’ novel, George Washington Gómez as trauma fiction. Chapter IV, places Gloria Anzaldúa’s writing in conversation with Manuel Muñoz’s texts. Chapter V, considers post-Movement writing and alternative understandings of trauma and healing circulating within Chicana/o literature and their relationship to decolonialty
Chicana/o Literature; Curanderismo