Pancho Villa and His Resonance in the Border Paradigm

Lee, Euna
December 2011
Estudios Sobre las Culturas Contemporáneas;dic2011, Vol. 17 Issue 34, p109
Academic Journal
Legendary Mexican heroes have reemerged in the public space to meet the varying political, artistic or commercial needs of the various sectors of both the Mexican and American society. I intend to delve into iconic figure of Pancho Villa in relation to a theoretical framework of the border region. My paper pursues answers to the following questions: what sort of relevant role does the Mexican revolutionary icon undertake for current Chicano/Latino life? To what extent does Villa still have a certain political or ideological viability that speaks for and to communal interests of Chicanos or Latinos? I want to focus on how the figure of Villa is evoked in relation to a number of border concepts because Villa himself inspires questions about the representation of images of the border, as an allegorical construct of the unrepresented/ misrepresented physical frontier. I examine the ways in which his presence is invoked, discussed, and re-appropriated in theoretical, literary, and filmic works whose thematic figurations revolve around the border. Organizing my discussion in three parts, I analyze how the figure of Villa is reincarnated in three contexts: drama, film, and folklore always in dialogue with issues of border culture, border identity and border representation. I propose that the figure of Villa signals persistent conflicts and ongoing debates involving the border region as it returns, repeatedly, as a popular icon for both the U.S. mainstream society and the Chicano/Latino community.


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