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Latino/a Mobility in California History

Genevieve Carpio, Javier Cienfuegos, Ivonne Gonzalez, Karen Lazcano, Katherine Lee Berry, Joshua Mandell, Christofer Rodelo, Alfonso Toro, Authors

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Sources and Methodology

My primary sources for this investigation are two pieces of media from El Teatro Campesino.

 The first is the PBS television version of La Carpa de los Rasquachis, known as El Corrido. Though several recorded versions of the play exist, this one is of the highest quality. In my examination I will ignore the interludes existing throughout the televised version that do not appear within the stage version of the play, because while they contribute a significant amount of material, they do not contribute to the story of La Carpa’s protagonist and his family. El Corrido is hosted on courtesy of UC Santa Barbara’s Davidson Library and the El Teatro Campesino Archives. UC Santa Barbara’s California Ethnic and Multicultural Archives are home to the entire repository of El Teatro Campesino’s papers, film stocks, and archival materials.
The second source is a series of photographs of El Teatro Campesino taken in 1966 by photographer, Jon Lewis. In these photographs, Lewis captures images of very early performances of El Teatro, their fellow NFWA organizers, and their audiences in various locations, from union halls to marches to picket lines. Lewis’ photographs show representative examples of El Teatro Campesino’s overall aesthetic, particularly as relates to mobility. These images are a part of Lewis’ larger series of photographs on the Farm Workers’ movement. They are housed in Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library as part of the collection on Lewis’ photography.
I will analyze the elements of El Teatro Campesino’s performance aesthetics illustrated by Lewis’ photographs in order to demonstrate their extensive use of “rasquachismo.” In doing so, I will discuss how “rasquachismo” plays into their leftist politics and their role as a migrant workers’ theatre by representing both mobility and working-class values.
I will also highlight elements from the story of La Carpa de los Rasquachis using historical examples presented in readings from the course’s syllabus to highlight the historicity of El Teatro Campesino’s claims within La Carpa. Using information gleaned from the historical texts and inferences from the text of La Carpa, I have created a map of the protagonist’s possible route of migration.

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