Performance

“Performance” and “Latina/o” gained popularity as critical keywords designating objects of study and critical optics for the analysis and theorization of Latina/o life and culture in the United States during the 1990s. The coincidence between the gradual eclipsing of “Hispanic” by “Latina/o”—as the umbrella designator for interethnic and pan-ethnic social interactions, imaginaries, and coalitions of Latin American–descent populations  in the United States—and the rise of performance—as a cultural unit and as a theoretical approach to identity as iterative effort rather than stable truth—led to the emergence of latinidad as a term that more accurately renders the dynamic, processual nature of the ethno-national range and crossings “Latina/o” as a concept sought to encompass. This shift to performance and latinidad also avoids the settler-colonialist assumptions behind the privileging of Spanish or Hispanic as the primary unifying feature of Latin American–descent populations by extending the repertoires of cultural practice central to Latina/o studies …

This essay may be found on page 152 of the printed volume.

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