I Am Aztlán
The Personal Essay in Chicano Studies
Edited by Chon A. Noriega and Wendy Belcher
Aztlán Anthology, Volume 3
July 2004


This anthology brings together twelve essays by scholars, writers, and artists reflecting on the role of the “I” in Chicano and Latino culture and the diverse ways in which personal voice and experience inform their research.

Advance Praise

“This important book brings a deeper focus to the Quixotesque quests for identity that Chicano writers have been undertaking for generations now. Combining scholarship, testimonio, and chisme, the essays throw open a panoramic view onto mystic and fascinating landscapes of memory and imagination that will help readers envision the collective Latino self.”

-John Phillip Santos, author of Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, National Book Award finalist

“This important book will be welcomed by students of Chicano autobiography. Its first-rate essays, full of humor, pathos, and challenges to orthodoxy, well documents contemporary scholars’ search for the collective self.”

-Genaro M. Padilla, author of the landmark study My History, Not Yours: The Formation of Mexican American Autobiography

Rave Reviews

"This collection of essays represents an important and worthwhile contribution to the growing field of Chicano/a autobiographical and non-fiction writing. The volume brings together Chicano/a, as well as Puerto Rican and Cuban American, writers and artists who demonstrate a common interest in exploring the intersections of personal and social history. Instead of reifying Chicano/a identity into recognizable traits for the purposes of definition, this collection explodes stereotypes of a 'typical' Chicano/a experience by highlighting the internal tensions surrounding the ideological struggle to define an authentic Chicano/a experience. . ... The collection of essays concludes with a very helpful and useful bibliography of Chicano/a autobiographical and personal essays, in both English and Spanish. ...it is in many ways an ideal pedagogical tool to introduce students to the complicated nature of 'Chicano/a identity.' The range of issues explored in this collection not only highlights the diversity of the Chicano/a community, but it does so in an accessible, familiar manner. This allows for readers with different interests to take something worthwhile from the text, making it a unique and timely contribution to the field."

-Carlos Gallego, Review, Biography (March 2006)

ISBN (paper): 
266 pages.
Available from the
University of Washington Press
$19.95 paperback
"[T]his collection ... shows that the term Aztlán is much more complex than right-wing critics dare to acknowledge. ... All of the pieces are quick ... leaving readers wanting more. Highly recommended. All levels/libraries."
— R. Acuña, Review, Choice (Current Reviews for Academic Libraries) 43, no. 1 (September 2005)
"These twelve essays by scholars, writers and artists considers the self in Chicano and Latino cultures, and how their perceptions of self and its role affects their work. They approach the subjects of exile and going home, home and work, family, and testifying by sharing memories of first learning English and white culture, what they thought of their parents' role in culture in the past and how they perceive it now, how family secrets that transcend culture still become involved in it, how life as a Chicano"
— Review, Book News (August 1, 2005)