Inhabiting La Patria

Identity, Agency, and Antojo in the Work of Julia Alvarez

Edited by Rebecca L. Harrison & Emily Hipchen

Subjects: Latin American Studies, Literary Criticism, Hispanic Studies, American Literature, Multiethnic Literature
Series: SUNY series in Multiethnic Literatures
Paperback : 9781438449043, 254 pages, July 2014
Hardcover : 9781438449050, 254 pages, December 2013

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Table of contents

Introduction: Inhabiting La Patria: Identity, Agency, and Antojo in the Work of Julia Alvarez
Rebecca L. Harrison and Emily Hipchen
1. Julia Alverez and the Autobiographical Antojo
Lisa Ortiz-Vilarelle
2. ¡Yo! On the Margins: Dividing the Family and the Ethnic Writer as Traitor
Marion Rohrleitner
3. “Super-Size Me”: Ritual as Affluenza in Julia Alvarez’s Once upon a Quinceañera: Coming of Age in the USA
Sara Gerend
4. Rewriting Master Narratives: Julia Alvarez’s In the Time of the Butterflies
Katie Daily-Bruckner
5. Patriots and Citizens of the Planet: Friendship and Geopolitics in Julia Alvarez’s Young Adult Fiction
Susana S. Martínez
6. Isolation on Hybridity Road: Complexities of Identity Formation in Julia Alvarez’s Something to Declare
Karina A. Bautista

7. “Between the Scylla and the Charybdis”: Remapping Subjectivity in the Dialogic Waters of Julia Alvarez’s “The Other Side/El Otro Lado”
Andrea Witzke Slot
8. In the Name of Salomè: Julia Alvarez’s Feminist Discourse on La Patria
Tegan Zimmerman
9. The Hidden Archivist; Or, Julia Alvarez’s Historical Fiction beyond the Borders
Frans Weiser
List of Contributors

Examines the work of prolific Dominican American writer Julia Alvarez.


This is the first collection of critical essays on the works of Dominican American author Julia Alvarez. A prolific writer of nearly two dozen books of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature, Alvarez has garnered numerous international accolades, including the impressive F. Scott Fitzgerald Award for Outstanding Achievement in American Literature. She was one of only ten poets invited to write for President Obama's inauguration in 2009, and her In the Time of the Butterflies was selected as a National Endowment for the Arts "Big Read," putting her in the company of Mark Twain, Zora Neale Hurston, and Harper Lee. Yet, despite Alvarez's commercial success and flourishing critical reputation, much of the published scholarship has focused on her two best-known novels—In the Time of the Butterflies and How the García Girls Lost Their Accents.

Moving beyond Alvarez's more recognizable work, the contributors here approach her wider canon from different points of access and with diverging critical tools. This enriches current discussions on the construction of selves in life writing, and nonfiction more generally, and furthers our understanding of these selves as particular kinds of participants in the creation of nation and place. In addition, this book provides fresh insight for transnational feminist studies and makes a meaningful contribution to the broader study of the gendered diaspora, as it positions Alvarez scholarship in a global context.

At the University of West Georgia, Rebecca L. Harrison is Assistant Professor of English. At the University of West Georgia, Emily Hipchen is Associate Professor of English.


"…this volume as a whole represents a big step in Julia Alvarez studies. Inhabiting La Patria succeeds in analyzing carefully and celebrating sincerely one of the great writers of our time, and, as a collection, provides a compelling history of twentieth-century Dominican Republic and its diaspora." — Letras Femeninas