Maria Plascencia

Major and Classification

American Studies and Ethnicity

Faculty Mentor

George Sánchez, Ph.D.


American Studies and Ethnicity

McNair Project

“The Japanese Chicano Movement”

Project Abstract

Identity is often thought of as something solidly defined. Cultures are described to have specific characteristics, belonging to certain groups of people. In Narrative, Identity, and the Map of Cultural Policy Constance DeVereaux and Martin Griffin explain the difference between transnationalism and globalization and how these are spaces for cultural and identity formation. They argue that transnationalism defies the idea of nation states and that globalization strips away local culture. My study employs Devereaux and Griffin’s analysis of what these terms mean in the production of ethnic identity and culture in order to understand how the spread of Chicanismo to Japan reflects either or both of these terms. I also draw from Devereaux and Griffin to examine identity and cultural formation at a global level through individuality and collectiveness. These scholars argue that there are different levels of identity formation which occur at the individual, family, and community levels. Devereaux and Griffin also raise questions of cultural authenticity in their section, “If You Were Authentic, You’d Already Be Home,” which examines the fluidity of culture and identity and challenges the concept of what authentic is. In conversation with these questions and findings, this paper analyzes the fusions between Chicano and Japanese culture. Chicanismo in Japan is one of the many subcultures in the country that offer alternative spaces for identity and culture. In this paper, I argue that Chicano culture serves as a new space for Japanese to be critical of their home country.