The Haunted Southwest: Towards an Ethics of Place in Borderlands Literature (Hardcover)
In the American Southwest, Hispano, Indian, and Euro-American cultures display conflicting and competing avenues for legitimacy. Examining literature of the region, The Haunted Southwest makes use of theories of place, space, and haunting to show how memory instills an ethic and orientation tied to embodied knowledge. American modernist ideologies accelerated the erasure of indigenous histories and ways of being-in-the-world. The Haunted Southwest digs under spatial geography to expose sites where colonial and colonized cultures intersect and overlay to create a palimpsest haunted by history. These sites emerge as environments of memory--places of synthesis and renewal for indigenous and mestiza/o subjects. Pressing the need to disturb narratives within the "bordered frontier" foregrounds a moral imperative for place-making in the US-Mexico Borderlands. In this way, this book situates region and place as generative sites of ideology and ethnic identity that more broadly signify sustainable practices on the Borderlands. A primary goal is to demonstrate how a focus on the political and social forces of haunting embeds a moral and ethical framework that speaks to our most pressing contemporary environmental and social justice concerns. Through analysis and resituation of border rituals and celebrations, alongside works by Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy, Rudolfo Anaya, and many others, author Cordelia E. Barrera argues that an eco-spatial poetics attuned to multivocality within postmodern narratives breaks open haunted sites and allows us to re-map landscapes as a repository of ancestral traces and on ethical grounds.