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UNC Latina/o Studies Program “Health, Environment, and LatinX Experiences” Symposium Day 1: Shared Spaces & Lives: Overlapping and Discrete Experiences

September 9, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Shared Spaces & Lives: Overlapping and Discrete Experiences

“Modern Transnational Familia: Exploring Cultural Gaps in the Experiences of Latinx Families,” Santiago Bejarano Hernandez

“Xing Borders: TRANSPLANTation as Survival and Subversion in the Fiction of María Luisa Bombal and Isabel Allende,” Marcy Pedzwater

To attend, click on this Zoom Link or copy and paste the following URL into your browser:


Modern Transnational Familia: Exploring Cultural Gaps in the Experiences of Latinx Families

Presenter: Santiago Bejarano Hernandez

Significant research exists on what defines transnational families, and more recently, literature has focused on gender and the effects that transnationality has on children. However, there is little qualitative research about living as a part of a transnational family. I hope to use what previous research has defined to mean transnational and expand it to include the experiences of modern transnational families. The modern transnational family is one in which the caretakers and the children live in the same household here in the United States. This distinction is made from ‘traditional’ transnational families, in which the children are left behind in the Latin American countries, to highlight that much of the literature focuses on the geographical gap within the family and the changes and tensions that this brings to familial relationships. This thesis expands on the literature about traditional transnational families by including families in which the geographical gap is absent or largely missing by applying similar questions of culture, belonging, and familial relationships to modern transnational families. This thesis explores the experience of living in a transnational family through three lenses: how the experience affects the individual bodies of Latinx transnational immigrants as well as the larger flow of bodies of labor that form transnational families, the sacrifices that are made as a result of being transnational by both parents and children, and the gaps between gender, social class, and language that are created in a modern transnational family.

Xing Borders: TRANSPLANTation as Survival and Subversion in the Fiction of María Luisa Bombal and Isabel Allende

Presenter: Marcy Pedzwater

In both Latin American and Latina/o Studies, transculturation has served as a useful framework for theorists to understand the impacts of colonization and the aftermath of two or more cultures coming into contact with one another. However, because transculturation has been used in such a variety of contexts, the term has the potential to overshadow or ignore certain frameworks, especially the impacts of patriarchal violence over women in the environment. With roots in the theory of transculturation, TRANSPLANTation, I argue, serves as a more specific paradigm characterized by its prioritization of a simultaneously feminist, environmentalist ethic. I develop this model of TRANSPLANTation through an analysis of María Luisa Bombal’s “El árbol” and Isabel Allende´s La casa de los espíritus. Specifically, I contend that there are two logics of transplantation at play in these works: transPLANTATION, a violent, patriarchal system associated with monoculture and domination, and TRANSPLANTation, a feminist survival strategy enacted to counter the logic of the transPLANTATION. Furthermore, through the similarities in name, TRANSPLANTation is shadowed by transPLANTATION, highlighting the eminence of patriarchal violence that informs the actions of TRANSPLANTation. Through the logic of TRANSPLANTation, the authors model a critical LatinX environmentalism—one that replaces the conflation of national identifications and belonging with a critical consciousness that strategically crosses and defies borders and the logic of the nation state. TRANSPLANTation, exemplified in these works, offers a fruitful model for engaging a variety of feminist, transnational, LatinX writing.