Translating Racial, Ethnic, Sexual, and Gender Identities across the Americas

By María-Amelia Viteri
Foreword by Salvador Vidal-Ortiz

Subjects: Latin American Studies, Queer Studies, Lesbian / Gay Studies, Ethnography, Anthropology
Series: SUNY series, Genders in the Global South
Paperback : 9781438453347, 200 pages, July 2015
Hardcover : 9781438453354, 200 pages, November 2014

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Table of contents

1. Translating Sexual and Racial Borders
2. The Meanings around “Loca”: Revisiting Language, Space, and Sexuality
3. “Latino” and “Queer” as Sites of Translation: Intersections of “Race,” Ethnicity, Class, and Sexuality
4. Inserting the “I” in the Fieldwork
5. Conclusion

Examines the intersections of “Latino,” “queer,” and “American,” to illustrate how the categories of class, race, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity are directly entangled with issues of citizenship and belonging.


María-Amelia Viteri explores the multiple unfixed meanings that the term "Latino" takes on as this category is reappropriated and translated by LGBT "Latinos" in Washington, DC, San Salvador, and Quito. Using an anthropology-based, interdisciplinary approach, she exposes the creative ways in which migrants—including herself—subvert traditional readings based on country of origin, skin color, language, and immigrant status. A critical look at the multiple ways migrants view what it means to be American, Latino, and/or queer provides fertile ground for theoretical, methodological, and political debates on the importance of a queer transnational and immigration framework when analyzing citizenship and belonging. Desbordes (un/doing, overflowing borders) ethnographically addresses the limits and constraints of current paradigms within which sexuality and gender have been commonly analyzed as they intersect with race, class, ethnicity, immigration status, and citizenship. This book uses the concept of "queerness" as an analytical tool to problematize the notion of a seamless relationship between identity and practice.

María-Amelia Viteri is Associate Researcher and Professor of Anthropology at FLACSO/Ecuador (Latin American Graduate School of Social Sciences) and Visiting Scholar at the Latin American and Latino Studies Institute at Fordham University. She is the coeditor (with Aaron Tobler) of Shifting Positionalities: The Local and International Geo-Politics of Surveillance and Policing.


"A sophisticated ethnographer and linguistic anthropologist, Viteri provides a rich analysis of heretofore understudied populations. This is a pioneering study." — Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, author of Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora