Garcia offers a compelling reading of literature by female Puerto Rican writers and delineates a critical methodology that analyzes the narrative strategies these authors deploy. She identifies how these writers challenge conventional historiographies that have rendered them marginal. Garcia elucidates how these narratives redress the violence of dominant modes of historical documentation. She underscores how they can produce a healing effect for readers and also afford legitimacy to alternative epistemologies.
Using an interdisciplinary approach, Healing Memories analyzes the ways that Puerto Rican women authors use their literary works to challenge historical methodologies that have silenced the historical experiences of Puerto Rican women in the United States. Following Aurora Levins Morales’s alternative historical methodology she calls “curandera history,” this work analyzes the literary work of authors, including Aurora Levins Morales, Nicholasa Mohr, Esmeralda Santiago, and Judith Ortiz Cofer, and the ways they create medicinal histories that not only document the experiences of migrant women but also heal the trauma of their erasure from mainstream national history. Each analytical chapter focuses on the various methods used by each author including using the literary space as an archive, reclaiming memory, and (re)writing cultural history, all through a feminist lens that centers the voices and experiences of Puerto Rican women.
A much-needed intervention into the place and function of literature written by Puerto Rican women and more broadly women of color. Garcia fills a gap in the intersection between history and literary production, arguing that historical narrative must come not only from hegemonic sources--which tightly control, if not silence, these voices---but also from women of color cultural producers through memoir. Indispensable for anyone interested in women of color feminism and ethnic studies.
Elizabeth Garcia is currently teaching courses in the Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program at Wesleyan University . She has also taught courses in Latino/a Studies with a focus on history, cultural studies, and literature.