Latinx Belonging

Community Building and Resilience in the United States

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What does it mean to be Latinx? This pressing question forms the core of Latinx Belonging, which brings together cutting-edge research to discuss the multilayered ways this might be answered.

Latinx Belonging is anchored in the claim that Latinx people are not defined by their marginalization but should instead be understood as active participants in their communities and contributors to U.S. society. The volume’s overarching analytical approach recognizes the differences, identities, and divisions among people of Latin American origin in the United States, while also attending to the power of mainstream institutions to shape their lives and identities. Contributors to this volume view “belonging” as actively produced through struggle, survival, agency, resilience, and engagement.

This work positions Latinxs’ struggles for recognition and inclusion as squarely located within intersecting power structures of gender, race, sexuality, and class and as shaped by state-level and transnational forces such as U.S. immigration policies and histories of colonialism. From the case of Latinxs’ struggles for recognition in the arts, to queer Latinx community resilience during COVID-19 and in the wake of mass shootings, to Indigenous youth’s endurance and survival as unaccompanied minors in Los Angeles, the case studies featured in this collection present a rich and textured picture of the diversity of the U.S. Latinx experience in the twenty-first century.

Andrés Acosta
Jack “Trey” Allen
Jennifer Bickham Mendez
Stephanie L. Canizales
Christopher Cuevas
Natalia Deeb-Sossa
Yvette G. Flores
Melanie Jones Gast
Monika Gosin
Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo
Nolan Kline
Verónica Montes
Yvonne Montoya
Michael De Anda Muñiz
Suzanne Oboler
Gilda L. Ochoa
Dina G. Okamoto
Marco Antonio Quiroga
Michelle Téllez

Foreword by Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo
Introduction: Latinx Belonging and Struggles for Inclusion
Jennifer Bickham Mendez and Natalia Deeb-Sossa

Part I. Intersectional Latinidades, Resilience, and Community Building
1. Ethnorace and the Orientación of Unaccompanied, Undocumented Indigenous Youth in Latinx Los Angeles
Stephanie L. Canizales
2. Resilience in the Time of a Pandemic: COVID-19, LGBTQ+ Latinx Activism, and the Politics of Belonging
Nolan Kline, Andrés Acosta, Christopher Cuevas, and Marco Antonio Quiroga
3. No Choice but Unity: Afro-Cuban Immigrants Building Community in Los Angeles
Monika Gosin

Part II. Finding Home and Claiming Place Through Familia
4. Mujeres Luchadoras: Latina Immigrant Women’s Homemaking Practices to Assert Belonging in a Philadelphia Suburb
Verónica Montes
5. Creating Home, Claiming Place: Latina Immigrant Mothers and the Production of Belonging
Jennifer Bickham Mendez and Natalia Deeb-Sossa
6. Finding Home / Haciendo Familia: Testimonios of Mexican Male Farmworkers in Central California
Yvette G. Flores

Part III. Resistance Through Claims-Making and Cultural Expression
7. Belonging and Vulnerability in San Francisco: Undocumented Latinx Parents and Local Claims-Making
Melanie Jones Gast, Dina Okamoto, and Jack “Trey” Allen
8. Strategic (Il)legibility: The Marginalization and Resistance of Latina Community-Engaged Artists in Chicago
Michael De Anda Muñiz
9. Dance in the Desert: Latinx Bodies in Movement Beyond Borders
Michelle Téllez and Yvonne Montoya
10. A City of Puentes: Latina/o Cross-Generational Memories and Organizing in the 2016–17 Struggle for Sanctuary
Gilda L. Ochoa

Part IV. Concluding Thoughts
11. Latinx Belonging and Solidarity in the Twenty-First Century: (Re)Constructing the Meaning of Community in the Era of COVID-19
Suzanne Oboler

“In Latinx Belonging, Natalia Deeb-Sossa and Jennifer Bickham Mendez have produced a timely edited volume that brings together an impressive range of contributions from emerging and established scholars in the interdisciplinary field of Latinx studies. Latinx Belonging shines a light on Latinx strategies for community building, belonging, and joy in the face of anti-Latinx, nativist, and white supremacist violence and exclusion. This volume offers historically informed scholarship that highlights contemporary trends in both oppression and resistance, while also attending to the problematic glossing over of inter-Latinx difference and ways that whiteness is often reproduced through Latinidad. This volume will be a great resource for educators in Latinx studies and adjacent fields.” —Maurice Magaña, University of Arizona

“The term Latinx has gained additional traction in recent years, given adopters’ goals for more inclusive terminology to describe our community. The chapters in this extraordinary and timely collection provide depth in the intersectional identities of Latinx peoples in the United States who are women-identified, queer, trans, undocumented, Black, and/or Indigenous. They offer important insights into the materiality of their experiences as well as abundant hope in considering the resistance and creativity present in the processes of community building.”—Francisco Villegas, co-editor of Critical Schooling: Transformative Theory and Practice

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