Latino Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 214–233 | Cite as

Consuming Aztecs, producing workers: Economies of indigeneity and ambivalence in the Chicana/o and Latina/o imagination

  • Kristy L Ulibarri
Original Article


This essay considers the role of Chicana/o and Latina/o “premodern” indigeneity under free-market capitalism in Sesshu Foster’s novel Atomik Aztex, Coco Fusco and Guillermo Gómez-Peña’s The Couple in the Cage and the film Fast Food Nation. These texts reveal the economic utility of the premodern indigenous figure, challenging its precapitalist and precolonial symbolics. I argue that the allusions and images of “premodernity” and indigeneity in these texts elucidate regimes of consumption and labor exploitation that render an imagination for alternatives to capitalism exhausted. In particular, premodern indigeneity becomes a figure for both identity markets and labor markets, demonstrating a free-market logic and producing states of ambiguity and ambivalence for Chicana/o and Latina/o cultural politics.


indigeneity Chicana/o literature Latina/o cultural studies Sesshu Foster Coco Fusco Guillermo Gómez-Peña 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristy L Ulibarri
    • 1
  1. 1.East Carolina UniversityGreenville

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