cover of book

Chicano-Chicana Americana: Pop Culture Pluralism Starring Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Robert Beltran, and Lupe Ontiveros
by Anthony Macías
University of Arizona Press, 2023
Paper: 978-0-8165-4723-4 | eISBN: 978-0-8165-4724-1
Library of Congress Classification E184.S75
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.868073

Chicano-Chicana Americana is a cultural history of Mexican Americans in film, television, and theater. Through biographical sketches of performers such as Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Robert Beltran, and Lupe Ontiveros, this work asserts Mexican Americans’ proper place in the national narratives of our collective imaginary. Conveying a multicentered, polycultural America, this book shows us intriguing performers in bit parts who steal the scene and redefine what it means to be American.

Each biographical chapter analyzes an underappreciated actor, revealing their artistic contributions to U.S. common culture. Their long-shot careers tell a tale of players taking action with agency and fighting for screen time and equal opportunity despite disadvantages and differential treatment in Hollywood. These dynamic and complex individuals altered cinematic representations—and audience expectations—by surpassing stereotypes.

The book explores American national character by showing how ethnic Mexicans attained social and cultural status through fair, open competition without a radical realignment of political or economic structures. Their creative achievements demanded dignity and earned respect. Anthony Macías argues that these performances demonstrated a pop culture pluralism that subtly changed mainstream America, transforming it from the mythological past of the Wild West to the speculative future of science fiction.
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