Editors'Introduction
Criticism in the Borderlands
We have witnessed in recent years the need for a new history of Ameri-
can literature, one that would include the contributions of women and
cultural groups ignored by the academy. Much work still lies ahead, how-
ever, especially in the field of Chicano literature; although many men and
women have entered the academy, our literature and scholarship have yet to
receive full institutional support or national attention. No doubt, other
fields have benefited from the widening of the literary canon, most notably
women's studies and African-American studies. That these area studies of
research have received the most attention from the academy and its allied
publishing sector can be verified by strolling through the book exhibits at
the annual Modern Language Association national convention or by noting
the names of women and African-American scholars present on the edi-
torial boards of legitimating literary journals. We encourage and support
this interest in African-American and feminist scholarship, for it arises
out of concrete social conditions and will eventually influence classroom
teaching and the emergence of an alternative canon. However, we lament
the fact that such recognition has not been achieved by Chicano, as well as
by Asian-American, Native American, and Puerto Rican men and women.
As this exclusion from the national critical scene continues, Chicano
culture is increasingly drawing the attention of foreign scholars as wit-
nessed by the biennial conferences in Germersheim
(1984, 1990),
Paris
(1986),
Barcelona
(1988),
and Madrid
(1992)
on U.S. Hispanic cultures; the
annual
encuentros
between Mexican and Chicano scholars in Mexico City
and in cities along the U.S.-Mexican border; and the participation of Chi-
cano scholars, writers, artists, actors, and film makers in conferences and
festivals throughout Latin America. Indeed, the idea for
Criticism in the
Borderlands
first surfaced in 1985 as a response to the growing interna-
tional interest in Chicano literature.
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