Concurrent Panel Session Ten

Abstract Title

“Who Have You Displaced Today?”: “Haciendo Caras” as Collective Resistance against Gentrification en Pilsen Hispanic District, Chicago

Start Date

8-4-2018 1:00 PM

End Date

8-4-2018 1:50 PM

Abstract

Ablaze with vibrant murals heavy in Aztec, Mayan, and Chicano styling and political significance, Pilsen Hispanic District has experienced shifting boundaries and unsettled borders as gentrification has taken hold over the past several years. Gentrification has resulted in a contested urban borderland whose boundaries are shifting with an influx of flipped homes and white upper middle class homeowners. The most striking aspect of this borderland is the continuous thread of resistance within the community- protest posters, murals and cafe tables painted with symbols of resistance and words of challenge to locals and tourists alike. The longtime Hispanic community of Pilsen embodies a collective haciendo caras.

As Gloria Anzaldua notes,"Among Chicanas/mexicanas, haciendo caras, "making faces," means to put on a face, express feelings by distorting the face [. . .] For me, haciendo caras has the added connotation of making gestos subversives, political subversive gestures, the piercing look that questions or challenges, the look that says, "Dont walk all over me," the one that says "get out of my face" (124). Anzaldua further discusses interfacing between masks of oppression through art and words in order to cast off internal and external pressures. Through content analysis of Pilsen’s protest art and engagement with Anzaldua’s notion of haciendo caras and the Nahuatl, I seek to demonstrate how one community collectively resists economic and racial oppression through its resistance art. Such a case study may demonstrate ways in which urban borderlands seek to grapple with complex issues of poverty and citizenship in an increasingly precarious political climate.

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Apr 8th, 1:00 PM Apr 8th, 1:50 PM

“Who Have You Displaced Today?”: “Haciendo Caras” as Collective Resistance against Gentrification en Pilsen Hispanic District, Chicago

Ablaze with vibrant murals heavy in Aztec, Mayan, and Chicano styling and political significance, Pilsen Hispanic District has experienced shifting boundaries and unsettled borders as gentrification has taken hold over the past several years. Gentrification has resulted in a contested urban borderland whose boundaries are shifting with an influx of flipped homes and white upper middle class homeowners. The most striking aspect of this borderland is the continuous thread of resistance within the community- protest posters, murals and cafe tables painted with symbols of resistance and words of challenge to locals and tourists alike. The longtime Hispanic community of Pilsen embodies a collective haciendo caras.

As Gloria Anzaldua notes,"Among Chicanas/mexicanas, haciendo caras, "making faces," means to put on a face, express feelings by distorting the face [. . .] For me, haciendo caras has the added connotation of making gestos subversives, political subversive gestures, the piercing look that questions or challenges, the look that says, "Dont walk all over me," the one that says "get out of my face" (124). Anzaldua further discusses interfacing between masks of oppression through art and words in order to cast off internal and external pressures. Through content analysis of Pilsen’s protest art and engagement with Anzaldua’s notion of haciendo caras and the Nahuatl, I seek to demonstrate how one community collectively resists economic and racial oppression through its resistance art. Such a case study may demonstrate ways in which urban borderlands seek to grapple with complex issues of poverty and citizenship in an increasingly precarious political climate.