LAST BLOG ENTRY!
Today we did our final presentation in class. I believe it went very well, we even had a fellow peer say that she was interested and intrigued by our presentation and how we tied it into modern day politics of Chicano people. We went slightly over time, but I noticed many groups did that. I review of that I would say one of my biggest critiques would be to have less information rather than more. It is more important to leave gaps (as made example by the Russian group) so that people can fill in the blanks and do some thinking for themselves. It leaves a space for question and therefore further research to find the answers. With too much information there is too much going on; it's as if we can't jam pack it all into our brains at the same time. When things are too overwhelming people tend to check out because they can't prioritize what to focus on. I enjoyed the Roman presentation, I was indeed entertained, but I can't tell you what I learned because there was a lot going on. There is a fine line between having too much information and not enough; as well as enough entrainment to keep people engaged but not so much that the content isn't taken seriously. If I could do this project again I would have added some mode of performance and left a little bit of the information out to keep our audience engaged and guessing. And hopefully they would walk away with some important questions to dig deeper in the subject matter with. I enjoyed seeing others presentations. It's interesting to see students perform the role of professor and vice versa
(finally figured this out)
"Ybarra's book is precisely the right source for your group to scrutinize and learn from. I wish I had seen this blog entry earlier so that I could have pushed your group to wrestle with key ideas like "performance as an epistemology of conquest." What does that mean?"
I have been digging to find an answer to your question;
-To look at performance as a study of conquest in Mexico we can look at performances that aren't necessarily traditional. For example; political performances or public speaking. We may not see that as a performance right away but it is indeed a mode of performance. As it is also a mode of control where someone stands up in front of a large crowd and speaks about what is going on. The person who is speaking becomes the narrator for what it going on. This person is seen by all people as a person who is in a position of power over the listeners because he is the one with the voice among so many making his voice or his opinion matter more. He also then becomes the one who is seen to have knowledge. This creates a power structure. In this case the controllers are white men in conquest. This way of looking at political speech as performance turns the citizens of that nation into actors and the director is the speaker. For example when Bill Clinton went to Tlaxcala to speak about immigration laws and drug trafficking, he was greeted with traditional of Tlaxcala masks that he and Hilary wore and celebrated while knowingly having an alternate agenda to implement immigration laws. In performing conquest the Tlaxcaltecans are defined by the political speeches that foment local identity. These political parties can then "play by the rules" of performance performing a friendly and innocent domineer while having an alternate agenda under way. This is how to "perform conquest"- like putting on a mask. Exactly like Cortez did when came and "befriended" the indigenous people of Mexico. I have also found an example of being baptized as performance which I agree with as well. Xicotencatl was one of the first Tlaxcaltecans to be baptized by Cortez. He wanted to align with Cortez, but later turned on him. We can also see how Tlaxcaltecans are good at playing by the rules too and performing their own conquest to try and revolt. I need to dig deeper and read more of this book and see what other scholars say in review of it. This is what I have found for now.... more on this later!
Nov 20 2012
In researching the meeting of Montezuma and Cortez I have found evidence that they actually "got along" at first. Montezuma gave Cortez and his noblemen gifts of gold and jasper as well as a nice place to stay when they first came to Mexico. He even gave them tours of the city and treated them as his own personal guests. I believe that much of this behavior has to do with the fact that when Cortez first came to Mexico the Aztecs thought that he must have been some kind of "God" because he had armor, horses, and guns, most of which the Aztecs did not have. It is amazing to me that after the hospitality that Montezuma showed Cortez and his men that Cortez could still conquer and take advantage of the Aztecs in such a brutal way. I have been thinking a lot about this complex issue of human ethics. It's as if he broke the "golden rule"- do onto others as you would have them do onto you. It troubles me to think about this because Cortez was conscious of what he was doing when he and his men began taking over the Aztecs. This to me suggests that they saw the Aztecs as less than human even though Montezuma saw them as equal if not "gods". This makes me think about how in modern times we often scapegoat people of other races, for example the H1N1 breakout in 2009 when we wanted to scapegoat Mexico and close national boarders when H1N1 really started in California. It makes me think that we still treat Chicano people as less than human-calling them "illegal aliens" (I believe that the word alien is too harsh) when they immigrate into our country when in actuality all people who came to North America where immigrants at one time, besides of course the Native Americans. This imbalance of power supports our claim of the oppression of Chicano people from westernization that traces all the way from the present to the past. Even the word "alien" suggests that we think of them as less than or different from "human". I am suggesting that we are (unfortunately) not that much different than Cortez and his noblemen in the way that we treat Chicano people as less than human when it comes to Westernization. I wonder what life would have been like today as far as the treatment of Chicano people if Cortez had treated Montezuma and the Aztecs as Montezuma treated Cortez and his noblemen. This is going somewhere towards human rights issues which is not exactly what our presentation will be about but it does tie into the idea of westernization favoring "whiteness". I do not believe that we need to dedicate a portion of our presentation to this idea but I certainly think it is something that we need to keep in mind while we are working. I am going to further research the meeting of Cortez and Montezuma to further dissect these happenings and how they can help to support our argument.
Nov 18 2012
(still can't figure out how to leave a blog so im leaving my info in this comment space)
In researching Luis Valdez I have found a term that I have been thinking a lot about. The term is the "vendido". The vendido can be found in many of Luis Valdez's plays. The vendido represents someone of Chicano decent who has been raised in American culture. This term my represent someone who is from Chicano decent but cannot speak Spanish, for example. I find this extremely interesting because the vendido is someone who has forgotten these things on purpose. The point of the vendido is to blend into Anglo American society; the point is to forget the Chicano culture all together. This is very important to me as it is a modernization of colonialism in a way. It may not be an extreme example, but I think it is a fitting one. It shows that oppression certainly has not stopped. I want to find more examples of the vendido in Valdez's work. I want to discuss the performance of whiteness still as a side comment and mention the Vendido as a performance. I looked up vendido on urban dictionary and it said it was "basically the brown version of uncle Sam". That definition alone is suggesting a Chicano in a white performance roll. There are many examples of vendido in Valdez's texts. I also find it interesting that the Spanish translation of vendido literally means "sold"- I look at it as to "sell out". The vendido is a white Chicano sell out. And I think there is a lot to be dissected in that.