Borderlands Saints, Borderlands Saints, 0813562333, 0-8135-6233-3, 978-0-8135-6233-9, 9780813562339, , Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States, Borderlands Saints, 0813562341, 0-8135-6234-1, 978-0-8135-6234-6, 9780813562346, , Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States, Borderlands Saints, 081356235X, 0-8135-6235-X, 978-0-8135-6235-3, 9780813562353, , Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States, Borderlands Saints, 0813570581, 0-8135-7058-1, 978-0-8135-7058-7, 97808135
Borderlands Saints

Secular Sanctity in Chicano/a and Mexican Culture
Desirée A. Martín (Author)
296 pages, 5 illustrations, 6 x 9
Paper, December 2013 $31.95   ADD TO CART
Cloth, December 2013 $88.00   ADD TO CART
Web PDF, December 2013 $31.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
epub, December 2013 $31.95   EBOOK VERSION AVAILABLE
Series: Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States
Subject Area:
Latina/o Studies, Literary Studies, Film, Media Studies, and Communications, American Studies
 Winner of the 2014 Latina/o Studies Section - LASA Outstanding Book Award


In Borderlands Saints, Desirée A. Martín examines the rise and fall of popular saints and saint-like figures in the borderlands of the United States and Mexico. Focusing specifically on Teresa Urrea (La Santa de Cabora), Pancho Villa, César Chávez, Subcomandante Marcos, and Santa Muerte, she traces the intersections of these figures, their devotees, artistic representations, and dominant institutions with an eye for the ways in which such unofficial saints mirror traditional spiritual practices and serve specific cultural needs.

Popular spirituality of this kind engages the use and exchange of relics, faith healing, pilgrimages, and spirit possession, exemplifying the contradictions between high and popular culture, human and divine, and secular and sacred. Martín focuses upon a wide range of Mexican and Chicano/a cultural works drawn from the nineteenth century to the present, covering such diverse genres as the novel, the communiqué, drama, the essay or crónica, film, and contemporary digital media. She argues that spiritual practice is often represented as narrative, while narrative—whether literary, historical, visual, or oral—may modify or even function as devotional practice.


"Addressing religion, spirituality and sanctity in Chicana/o culture, Borderlands Saints makes a significant contribution to a burgeoning area that demands critical attention."
—Carl Gutiérrez-Jones, University of California, Santa Barbara

"Borderland Saints offers compelling portraits of popular and secular saints who exist unapologetically outside the realm of official church teaching."
—Latino Studies

"Through Martín’s incisive critical textual analysis we come to see the borderlands—and the exchange there between devotees and saints—as an important site for the performance of secular sanctity. Borderlands Saints is an invaluable contribution to border studies."
—Laura G. Gutiérrez, author of Performing Mexicanidad: Vendidas y Cabareteras on the Transnational St

Author / Editor Bio

DESIRÉE A. MARTÍN is an assistant professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

Table Of Contents


Introduction: The Secular Sanctity of Borderlands Saints
1. Saint of Contradictions: Teresa Urrea, La Santa de Cabora
2. The Remains of Pancho Villa
3. Canonizing César Chávez
4. "Todos Somos Santos": Subcomandante Marcos and the EZLN
5. Illegal Marginalizations: La Santísima Muerte
Conclusion: Narrative Devotion

Works Cited


American Hybrid Poetics
Amy Moorman Robbins
City of Industry
Victor Valle
George Washington Bridge
Michael Aaron Rockland
Shining in Shadows
Murray Pomerance