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The Interpretation and Representation of Latino Cultures: Research and Museums Conference Documentation
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Amador, Melba I.

Challenging Traditional Curatorial Practices

Historicizing Narratives

Borders and Diasporas

Aesthetics Beauty

The Body: The Real and the Symbolic

All Abstracts



Racialized Identity: Perceptions of body in “The Story of My Body”

Women writers have always emphasized the conection between their bodies and their experiences through writing.  Latina writers, in particular, have done so with their experiences of immigration and identity formation.  Many of these Latina writers have arrived in the United States at a young age while their identities and their bodies are still developing.  The dramatic changes in the surroundings impact their sensibility and their internalized perception of the world and of themselves.  These internalizations occur because of the external environment, which judges them and perceives them based on their appearance.  Perceptions based especially on the color of their skin and the shape and size of their bodies. 

This paper analyzes the use of the body by Latina writers to express the experience of immigration.  How are their bodies affected by the transition from their native countries to their adopted land?  How is identity affected by others’ concept of the body?  How are Latina identities formed?  In “The Story of My Body” Judith Ortiz Cofer states: “I was born a white girl in Puerto Rico but became a brown girl when I came to live in the United States” (132).  Thus immigration, identity and race become embedded through/in the concept of body.

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