Defending Their Own in the Cold

The Cultural Turns of U.S. Puerto Ricans
Author: Marc Zimmerman
A visual and textual journey through the cultural contributions of Puerto Rican artists in the United States
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 09/14/2020
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About the Book

Marc Zimmerman works from a theoretical frame of cultural, postcolonial, and diasporic studies to compare the artistic experiences and cultural production of Puerto Ricans with that of Chicanos and Cuban Americans. As he shows, even supposedly mainstream U.S. Puerto Ricans participate in a performative culture that embodies elements of possible cultural "Ricanstruction." Zimmerman examines a spectrum of U.S. Puerto Rican artistic life, including relations with other ethnic groups and resistance to colonialism and cultural assimilation. To illustrate how Puerto Ricans have survived and created new identities and relations out of their colonized and diasporic circumstances, Zimmerman looks at the cultural examples of Latino entertainment stars like Jennifer Lopez and Benicio del Toro; visual artists Juan Sánchez, Ramon Flores, and Elizam Escobar; and a group of Chicago Puerto Rican writers.

About the Author

Marc Zimmerman is a professor emeritus of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and of Hispanic studies at the University of Houston. He is the author of U.S. Latino Literature: An Essay and Annotated Bibliography and has edited books and CDs on Chicago Mexican history and art.


"A book that will undoubtedly have an impact on US Puerto Rican Studies by expanding the repertoire of authors, works, and approaches that have traditionally defined the field."--Moreno: New Perspectives in U.S. Puerto Rican Cultural and Literary Studies

"Defending Their Own in the Cold brings to the fore a vibrant intellectual and artistic tradition. . . . Zimmerman, in beautifully rendered prose, captures the largesse of this tradition with the empathy of an insider and the expertise of an accomplished theoretician. His text is more than a defense, as the title may imply, but literary, artistic, and social analysis at its very best."--Centro Journal

"A healthy addition to any Latino Studies course focusing on art or literary movements. Defending Their Own in the Cold provides an introduction to contemporary cultural representation of Latinos and Puerto Ricans in the Midwest. Reflexive collections such as his offer both scholars and students a glimpse into the ways Puerto Ricans in the United States defend their own despite dominant misrepresentations of Latinos' integration and self-empowerment."--Latino Studies


"The author introduces insightful and provocative arguments about U.S. Puerto Rican cultural experiences and provides compelling illustrations. This is an important reference text that will undoubtedly stimulate further research."--Edna Acosta-Belen, coauthor of Puerto Ricans in the United States: A Contemporary Portrait


Received an Honorable Mention in the Frank Bonilla Book Award Competition from the Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA), 2012.