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April 06 , 2009

Queer Latinidad

Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces


According to the 2000 census, Latinos/as have become the largest ethnic minority group in the United States. Images of Latinos and Latinas in mainstream news and in popular culture suggest a Latin Explosion at center stage, yet the topic of queer identity in relation to Latino/a America remains under examined.

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Juana María Rodríguez attempts to rectify this dearth of scholarship in Queer Latinidad: Identity Practices, Discursive Spaces, by documenting the ways in which identities are transformed by encounters with language, the law, culture, and public policy. She identifies three key areas as the project’s case studies: activism, primarily HIV prevention; immigration law; and cyberspace. In each, Rodríguez theorizes the ways queer Latino/a identities are enabled or constrained, melding several theoretical and methodological approaches to argue that these sites are complex and dynamic social fields.

As she moves the reader from one disciplinary location to the other, Rodríguez reveals the seams of her own academic engagement with queer latinidad. This deftly crafted work represents a dynamic and innovative approach to the study of identity formation and representation, making a vital contribution to a new reformulation of gender and sexuality studies.

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