Critical Cultural Communication
Published by: NYU Press
272 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 x 0.00 mm, 30 b/w illustrations
- ISBN: 9781479833894
- Published: January 2022
The history of Latina/o participation and representation in American television
Whose stories are told on television? Who are the heroes and heroines, held up as intriguing, lovable, and compelling? Which characters are fully realized, rather than being cardboard villains and sidekicks? And who are our storytellers?
The first-ever account of Latino/a participation and representation in US English-language television, Latino TV: A History offers a sweeping study of key moments of Chicano/a and Latino/a representation and authorship since the 1950s. Drawing on archival research, interviews with dozens of media professionals who worked on or performed in these series, textual analysis of episodes and promotional materials, and analysis of news media coverage, Mary Beltrán examines Latina/o representation in everything from children’s television Westerns of the 1950s, Chicana/o and Puerto Rican activist-led public affairs series of the 1970s, and sitcoms that spanned half a century, to Latina and Latino-led series in the 2000s and 2010s on broadcast, cable, and streaming outlets, including George Lopez, Ugly Betty, One Day at a Time, and Vida.
Through the exploration of the histories of Latina/o television narratives and the authors of those narratives, Mary Beltrán sheds important light on how Latina/os have been included—and, more often, not—in the television industry and in the stories of the country writ large.
Mary Beltrán weaves discussions of Mexican-American and Latina/o representation with those
of authorship to produce a compelling and overdue account of how much we truly owe Latina/o
creative professionals. Beautifully researched, this book is mandatory reading for scholars of
race, media, and representation.
~Dolores Inés Casillas, author of Sounds of Belonging: U.S. Spanish-Language Radio and Public Advocacy
Mary Beltrán’s archival research recovers a history that is essential to understanding the ways in which television culture is always in conversation with the social, political, and economic context in which it is produced. Her insightful analysis shows us why storytelling is ultimately about access to power and the social status of politically marginalized communities in the United States. ~Isabel Molina-Guzmán, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign