232 pages, 6 x 9
8 b&w illustrations
Release Date:02 Apr 2019
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Calling the Soul Back

Embodied Spirituality in Chicanx Narrative

The University of Arizona Press
Spirituality has consistently been present in the political and cultural counternarratives of Chicanx literature. Calling the Soul Back focuses on the embodied aspects of a spirituality integrating body, mind, and soul. Centering the relationship between embodiment and literary narrative, Christina Garcia Lopez shows narrative as healing work through which writers and readers ritually call back the soul—one’s unique immaterial essence—into union with the body, counteracting the wounding fragmentation that emerged out of colonization and imperialism. These readings feature both underanalyzed and more popular works by pivotal writers such as Gloria Anzaldúa, Sandra Cisneros, and Rudolfo Anaya, in addition to works by less commonly acknowledged authors.

Calling the Soul Back explores the spiritual and ancestral knowledge offered in narratives of bodies in trauma, bodies engaged in ritual, grieving bodies, bodies immersed in and becoming part of nature, and dreaming bodies. Reading across narrative nonfiction, performative monologue, short fiction, fables, illustrated children’s books, and a novel, Garcia Lopez asks how these narratives draw on the embodied intersections of ways of knowing and being to shift readers’ consciousness regarding relationships to space, time, and natural environments.

Using an interdisciplinary approach, Calling the Soul Back draws on literary and Chicanx studies scholars as well as those in religious studies, feminist studies, sociology, environmental studies, philosophy, and Indigenous studies, to reveal narrative’s healing potential to bring the soul into balance with the body and mind.
In this beautifully written original contribution to Chicanx cultural and spirituality studies, Garcia Lopez argues that reading narratives about embodied spirituality and our relationality can shift consciousness and impact our actions in politically decolonizing ways. A joy to read!” —Irene Lara, Women’s Studies Department, San Diego State University

“In this important new work, Garcia Lopez unpacks the significance of Chicanx narratives that center embodied knowledge as a route toward understanding the interrelationships among humans and between humans and earth, shedding light on the shape of ‘environmental consciousness’ in contemporary Chicanx narratives.” —Theresa Delgadillo, Latina/o Studies, Ohio State University
Christina Garcia Lopez is an assistant professor of literature at the University of San Francisco.
List of Illustrations

Introduction: Approaching Narrative as Healing Work
1 The Body in Trauma: Healing a Collective Susto
2 The Ritual Body: Feminism and Spiritual Inheritance
3 The Grieving Body: Radical Reorientation
4 The Body Rooted and Flowing: Toward a Decolonized Spirituality
5 The Dreaming Body: Resituating Time, Space, and Knowledge

Works Cited
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