Cassandra Carrasco: Wondering Where to Begin
February 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
I have been thinking about the best way to approach my research topic which is “Cholas,” urban Latina females, most often associated with street gangs. I realized that last week during discussion I was set on critiquing the popular narrative of urban Chicanas in American society but at this point I really need to shift my focus to the historical research aspect. Below is my initial research goals/questions set as per the Booth formula:
I am studying:
Because I am trying to find out:
how they are defined in historical and popular culture / where they see themselves in relation to American mainstream society / what their narrative is from their own point-of-view / how they define their culture (their American-ness), and their ethnicity (their Latin roots)
In order to help my readers understand:
that the mass media depiction of Chicana women is narrow, misleading, simplistic, and often wrong / that multiple narratives can be/are woven depending on perspective.
My keyword cloud includes the following OskiCat search words and phrases:
Chola / Pachuca / Pachuca AND chola / chicana / chicana AND gang / chicana AND politics / chicana AND fashion / Mexican-American AND Teenage / Latina AND Social Status / Chicana AND urban / Latina AND urban
A brief list of some especially promising resources that I found are: “The Pachuca in Chicana/o Art. Literature, and History: reexamining nation, cultural nationalism, and resistance” (Catherine Sue Ramirez),”Chicana/o Subjectivity and the Politics of Identity” (Carlos Gallego), “Postnationalism in Chicana/o Literature and Culture” (Ellie D. Hernandez), “The Woman in the Zoot Suit: Gender, Nationalism, and the Cultural Politics of Memory” (Catherine Sue Ramirez).
I obviously have a lot of work ahead of me. I have many broad questions. I know that I need to narrow further and that this will depend on the type of published information I can find. Some questions that are nagging me are: Where do I begin? How far back to the “beginning” is sufficient? One hundred years? Fifty? Do I consider the Pachuca the precursor to the chola? Is this accurate? Should I be focusing on immigration? Assimilation? Poverty and class? Race/Ethnicity? Gender? All of the above?