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[Compte-rendu de] Border Matters: Remapping American Cultural Studies. By José David Saldívar (Berkeley: U of California P, 1997)

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  • American Studies
  • Chicano
  • Border
  • Economics
  • Political Science
  • Social Sciences


BIB_C56042047322.pdf Border Matters: Remapping American Cultural Studies. By José David Saldívar. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997, xvi + 251 pp., notes, biblio., index, $15.95). Border Matters aims to challenge the tendency in American cultural studies to focus mainly on Anglo-American culture and to reproduce its foundational narrative of Anglo-American cultural exceptionalism. Seeing itself as an intervention against the latent imperialism and racism of a cultural studies that would separate Anglo culture from the cultural practices of African-Americans and Chicanos, Border Matters strives to theorize and instantiate a cultural studies which includes the residents, experiences, cultures, historical genealogies and political issues produced by the U.S.- Mexican border. Situating itself historically in the political context of an increasingly militarized hostility toward immigrants and migrants from the South, Saldívar’s study nevertheless priveleges spatial and trans-historical readings, analyses, and juxtapositions. Similarly, while priveleging the subjective and lived experiences of border subjects as producers and products of culture, Saldívar nevertheless scrupulously reads them back against the economic, political, and historical contexts that determine their lives. Above all, Border Matters aims to decenter the North American focus of cultural studies, especially its exclusionary tendency to ignore the cultural heterogeneity of the Southern and Western regions, and openly vindicates a radicalized understanding of cultural practices, which recognizes culture as a social force, recognizes Chicano/a subjects as agents of culture, and which ultimately translates into a radicalized multiculturalist pedagogy. Border Matters is an ambitious book, seeking, as indicated by its subtitle, to “remap” American cultural studies by opening its southern border. Saldívar’s project involves both a recuperation of an overlooked cultural history a

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