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Secular Saints


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Contemporary icons are drawn from popular culture - musicians, artists, actors, and other personalities we hear on radio or see on television, on screen, in print and in cyberspace. Today's 'gods' are media personalities, and cults surround stars and artists like Frida Kahlo, Carlos Gardel, Eva Perón, and Selena. Because of transnational and global trends in importing and exporting cultural products, the paintings, music, and politics that these figures crafted accrue symbolic meaning in multiple fo. By viewing them through the lens of performance art we can begin to see how their polyvalent personas were first molded and perfected for the public through paintings, tangos, politics, and Tejano music. Once they fashioned their own complex images, these multi-layered icons continued to travel after death over international boundaries, gendered divisions, political borders, and language barriers. Their reincarnation on stage has allowed dramatists to affix and generate new associations, thus converting them into secular saints for contemporary audiences.

SARAH M. MISEMER lectures in Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M University, College Station.


This book is a valuable addition to the study of Latin-American culture: while some of its themes will be familiar to specialists, its strength is to highlight the connections between four figures who have not been considered from such a perspective before. The reader is left with a refreshed sense of the importance of an `iconicity' that is founded on secular sainthood within the context of Latin-American popular culture. BULLETIN OF SPANISH STUDIES
This comprehensive work could be an interesting means by which to introduce students to the historical, socio-political and critical foundations of Spanish American cultural studies - not just those whose particular interest lies in performance arts - whilst offering academics in the field a thought provoking assessment of some of the region's modern-day icons and their potential for the interrogative representation of identity, history and politics. BULLETIN OF LATIN AMERICAN RESEARCH


First Published: 17 Apr 2008
13 Digit ISBN: 9781855661615
Pages: 192
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Hardback
Imprint: Tamesis Books
BIC Class: GTB

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Introduction: Disenchanted Idols
  • 2  [S]Ex-votos: "Miraculous" Performances of the Body and Politics by Frida Kahlo
  • 3  Performing Palimpsests: Scraping Together Carlos Gardel
  • 4  Corpse and Corpus: The Incorruptible Santa Evita
  • 5  The Brown Madonna: Crossing the Borders of Selena's Martyrdom
  • 6  Conclusion
  • 7  Bibliography
  • 8  Index

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