miércoles, abril 20, 2005

San Martin's "Little Stories"

Today, while my students in the Latina Lit writing class are preparing for their midterm exam, I've started reading Alex Garcia-Rivera's book, ST MARTIN DE PORRES: the "little stories" and the semiotics of culture.

I'm really enjoying it so far, as Garcia-Rivera lays out why "little stories" are important in the acclamation and understanding of the saint by the masses. He gave a really clear discussion of Gramsci's hegemony, and enough of a background on Virgilio Elizondo's work, that I'm encouraged to spend more time reading Elizondo.

At the panel last weekend at NACCS, we did a panel on Saints, Religion, and Chicanas/Latinas.
We had some changes to the schedule, and were missing one panelist and our respondent, but the panel was still successful.

Lisa, an MA student, presented on her study of a focus group Latinas in Washington state, their Catholic identity, and how that is affected by higher education.

Nicole G-H presented on Saint Maria Goretti, and the way her story is taken up by Denise Chavez in FACE OF AN ANGEL, to shed light on the story of the protagonist, Soveida Dosamantes. She made this great handout on Maria Goretti, which was just like the website on Patron saints. The reverse included halloween costume tips, for dressing your little saint.

I presented on hagiography in Ana Castillo's novel SO FAR FROM GOD. Other Chicana feminists have identified the figure of Caridad with St. Mary of Egypt (Rita Cano Alcala) and Saint Claire (Gail Perez). I was interested in the character La Loca Santa, and the way her story is emplotted along the vitae of Blessed Christina the Astonishing. Cristina is not the most canonical of saints :) in fact I don't believe she's been canonized. In ANGELA'S ASHES, Frank McCourt writes about reading Cristina's story in the public library. This account claimed Cristina pulled of her breasts and threw them like stones at her judges. As far out as McCourt's story seems, if you read Thomas De Cantimpre's life of Cristina, you'll see many fantastic "little stories'

Rita U. came up afterward and told me her own little story of Santa Rita. She comes from a long line of Ritas, so I'll have to get her to write this down.

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