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K-State Today

November 16, 2015



Valenzuela presents at Society for the Study of American Women Writers

By Norma A. Valenzuela

Norma A. Valenzuela, visiting instructor of American ethnic studies, presented at the 2015 Society for the Study of American Women Writers in Philadelphia. Her presentation, "In-Between Public and Private: Chicano/a and Latino/a Vidas Transnacionales in Search of Home," is an interdisciplinary exploration of the shared experiences of people of color in colonized spaces.

Valenzuela utilizes documentary film and drama to examine the central role women of color play in the creation of alternative narratives to deconstruct dominant discourses while centering community empowerment invisible in Hollywood feature films. 

Film and drama are visual forms of cultural production that have been used to construct dominant and alternative narratives about transnational Chicana/o-Latina/o communities for well over five decades. In this study, Valenzuela interrogates the manner in which Chicana/Latina filmmakers and playwrights center their characters economically, politically and culturally in order to redirect their gaze on the process of finding a "home" within a colonized space.

Beginning with the transnational space of the U.S. Southwest-Latin America, Valenzuela examines the film "Made in L.A.," 2007' the plays "Simply María" or "The American Dream," 1996, by Josefina López; and "Nostalgia Maldita 1-900-Mexico" by Yareli Arizmendi, 1992, to argue that the filmmaker and playwrights configure a United States Latina transnational imaginary that positions their female characters as active social agents.

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