Introduction (Critical Survey of Drama, Second Revised Edition)
Identity—that is, one’s connection to heritage and search for autonomous existence—has been the leading theme throughout the history of Latino drama in the United States. According to Elizabeth C. Ramírez’s Chicanas/Latinas in American Theatre (2000), “in earlier decades (primarily during the [Richard] Nixon administration) there was a concerted effort to combine all Spanish-speaking groups in the United States into one, designating the term ‘Hispanic’ for this massive population.” Yet, the term “Hispanic” speaks of a collective, homogeneous Latino experience and ignores the diversity of each single culture that contributes to it. Among the numerous groups that belong to Latino culture in the United States, the three largest are Mexican Americans or Chicanos (American-born Mexicans), Puerto Ricans or Nuyoricans (New Ricans), and Cuban Americans, whose modern theater has acquired several names, including Cuban American and Cuban exile theater. The multitude of terms signify an acute awareness of Latino origins within—and in opposition to—the mainstream culture, a postmodern political consciousness of “the other” as both outsider and insider. “There are many subject positions one must inhabit; one is not just one being,” wrote literary critic Gayatri Spivak. “That is when a political consciousness comes in.”
Poet and novelist Lois Griffith’s writing, as an outcome of such political consciousness, was a...
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