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July 27 , 2016

Performing Mexicanidad

Vendidas y Cabareteras on the Transnational Stage
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Using interdisciplinary performance studies and cultural studies frameworks, Laura G. Gutiérrez examines the cultural representation of queer sexuality in the contemporary cultural production of Mexican female and Chicana performance and visual artists. In particular, she locates the analytical lenses of feminist theory and queer theory in a central position to interrogate Mexican female dissident sexualities in transnational public culture.

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This is the first book-length study to wed performance studies and queer theory in examining the performative/performance work of important contemporary Mexicana and Chicana cultural workers. It proposes that the creations of several important artists—Chicana visual artist Alma López; the Mexican political cabareteras Astrid Hadad, Jesusa Rodríguez, Liliana Felipe, and Regina Orozco; the Chicana performance artist Nao Bustamante; and the Mexican video artist Ximena Cuevas—unsettle heterosexual national culture. In doing so, they are not only challenging heterosexist and nationalist discourses head-on, but are also participating in the construction of a queer world-making project. Treating the notion of dis-comfort as a productive category in these projects advances feminist and queer theories by offering an insightful critical movement suggesting that queer worlds are simultaneously spaces of desire, fear, and hope.

Gutiérrez demonstrates how arenas formerly closed to female performers are now providing both an artistic outlet and a powerful political tool that crosses not only geographic borders but social, sexual, political, and class boundaries as well, and deconstructs the relationships among media, hierarchies of power, and the cultures of privilege.

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