Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists
Primary Theme: Resistance
Secondary Theme: Borders
As contemporary urban development seeks new markets for expansion, minoritzed communities in the United States continue to face gentrification, erasure of their cultural heritage, and even social death. Previously “undesirable” neighborhoods have become the locus for trendy upper class establishments and living spaces. These urban renewal projects regularly appropriate the names and iconography of previous inhabitants while simultaneously making it impossible for the local communities to subsist. In his book, Barrio-Logos: Space and Place in Urban Chicano Literature and Culture, Raúl Homero Villa (2000) documents these processes of “barrioization” as they simultaneously work to control and to deterritorialize mexicano communities in California in cyclical “regimes of urban restructuring” that dismantle established communities to make room for “modern” enhancements (183). However, these processes are not without contestation. Working-class communities refuse these institutional, social, economic and political processes of erasure and spatial reorganization through what Villa terms as “barriology.” This panel investigates the push and pull of these processes as marginalized city dwellers battle for the right to cultural representation and geographic longevity. Presenters will document and analyze how their collaborators employ strategies of “barriology” in their respective urban settings through digital, visual and performing arts as well as through claiming space with cultural centers and community organization. Each speaker contributes new ethnographic knowledge of the struggle to exist and even thrive despite the parasitic cultural appropriation and displacement of their communities.