Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Controlling (border) lines? Daniel Sada's Registro de causantes and the demands for (border) narrative

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2010), 87, (5), 585–602.

Abstract

Daniel Sada's short story collection Registro de causantes problematizes the policing gestures of lines defining legacies, territories, and identities. Yet taken together, the stories suggest a narrative trajectory that inscribes a negative image of the northern Mexican pueblo, echoing a discourse the central government has historically manipulated to marginalize that region. At the same time, the consistent focus on characters' narrative dynamics reflects back on and subverts the dominant narrator's efforts at maintaining control, inviting the reader to take up alternatives and engage the stories as sites of contested values. This essay examines the demands for narrative in Sada's text by relating the themes, settings, and characters in the stories to historical and critical contexts they suggest, and explores the tensions of framing (border) narrative by using work by Jessica Benjamin, Judith Butler, Jacques Derrida, David Johnson and Scott Michaelsen as theoretical points of reference.

El presente estudio, que principalmente examina tres cuentos del libro de Daniel Sadas, Registro de causantes ('Bahorrina', 'El fenómeno ominoso', y 'La averiguata'), toma en cuenta tanto las perspectivas históricas como las metafóricas sin intentar resolver las tensiones que existen entre las dos. Al esbozar cómo los cuentos de esta colección se apuntan hacia el contexto espacio-temporal específico del norte de México del siglo veinte tardío, enmarco el texto en un sentido jurisdiccional, en efecto patrullando la frontera mientras intento fijar el texto. Por el contrario, al considerar la tensión negociada que caracteriza la narración, también sugiero que el texto puede exceder los límites fijos y así vivir en las líneas fronterizas para los públicos de lectores que tengan acceso a él. Para dirigirme a las dinámicas de control y de conexión en los cuentos de Sada, me refiero a la obra crítica de David E. Johnson y Scott Michaelsen y la de Judith Butler, y también adapto las ideas sobre la intersubjetividad de Jessica Benjamin, las cuales valoran la tensión narrativa como una manera de apoyar el reconocimiento y el intercambio.

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Sada, Daniel, 1992. Registro de causantes (Mexico City: Ed. Joaquín Mortiz). Registro de causantes Google Scholar

Tabuenca Córdoba, María del Socorro, 1998. 'Border Perspectives desde las Fronteras', Living Chicana Theory, ed. Carla Mari Trujillo (Berkeley: Third Woman Press), pp. 232–62. Border Perspectives desde las Fronteras Living Chicana Theory 232 62 Google Scholar

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Villoro, Juan, 1995. 'La frontera de los ilegales', Anales de literatura hispanoamericana, 24: 67–74. La frontera de los ilegales Anales de literatura hispanoamericana 24 67 74 Google Scholar

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Zuñiga, Victor, 1995. 'El norte de México como desierto cultural: anatomía de una idea', puentelibre, 4: 18–23. El norte de México como desierto cultural: anatomía de una idea puentelibre 4 18 23 Google Scholar

Alonso, Ana María, 1995. Thread of Blood: Colonialism, Revolution, and Gender on Mexico's Northern Frontier (Tucson: University of Arizona Press). Thread of Blood: Colonialism, Revolution, and Gender on Mexico's Northern Frontier Google Scholar

Anderson, Danny J., 1995. 'Cultural Studies and Reading Culture', Indiana Journal of Hispanic Literatures, 6–7: 207–35. Cultural Studies and Reading Culture Indiana Journal of Hispanic Literatures 6–7 207 35 Google Scholar

Barrera Bassols, Dalia, and Lilia Venegas Aguilera, 1992. Testimonios de participación popular femenina en la defensa del voto, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, 1982–1986 (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia). Testimonios de participación popular femenina en la defensa del voto, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, 1982–1986 Google Scholar

Beltrán Félix, Geney, 2003. 'El fabulador en octosílabos o el corridista culto. La prosa rítmica de Daniel Sada', Revista de Literaturas Populares, 3.1: 117–40. El fabulador en octosílabos o el corridista culto. La prosa rítmica de Daniel Sada Revista de Literaturas Populares 3 117 40 Google Scholar

Benjamin, Jessica, 1988. The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problems of Domination (New York: Pantheon). The Bonds of Love: Psychoanalysis, Feminism, and the Problems of Domination Google Scholar

Benjamin, Jessica, 1995. Like Subjects, Love Objects: Essays on Recognition and Sexual Difference (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press). Like Subjects, Love Objects: Essays on Recognition and Sexual Difference Google Scholar

Beverly, John, 2008. 'The Neoconservative Turn in Latin American Literary and Cultural Criticism', Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesía, 17.1: 65–83. The Neoconservative Turn in Latin American Literary and Cultural Criticism Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesía 17 65 83 Google Scholar

Blue, William R., 1992. 'Effects of the Baroque: The Displacement of the Subject', Indiana Journal of Hispanic Literatures, 1.1: 7–23. Effects of the Baroque: The Displacement of the Subject Indiana Journal of Hispanic Literatures 1 7 23 Google Scholar

Butler, Judith, 1993. Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of 'Sex' (New York: Routledge). Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of 'Sex' Google Scholar

Camargo Breña, Angelina, 1933. 'No soy escritor consumado, dice Daniel Sada', Excelsior, 16 de enero: 1, 3. Google Scholar

Castillo, Debra A., 2000. 'Fuentes Fronterizo', Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies, 4: 159–74. Fuentes Fronterizo Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 4 159 74 Google Scholar

Castillo, Debra A., and María Socorro Tabuenca Córdoba, 2002. Border Women: Writing from La Frontera (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Border Women: Writing from La Frontera Google Scholar

Clayton, Jay, 1989. 'Narrative and Theories of Desire', Critical Inquiry, 16: 33–53. Narrative and Theories of Desire Critical Inquiry 16 33 53 Google Scholar

de Lauretis, Teresa, 1982. Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). Alice Doesn't: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema Google Scholar

de Lauretis, Teresa, 1987. Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press). Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques, 1976. Of Grammatology, trans. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press). Of Grammatology Google Scholar

Derrida, Jacques, 1988. 'Living On: Border Lines', Deconstruction and Criticism (New York: The Continuum Publishing Co.), pp. 75–176. Living On: Border Lines Deconstruction and Criticism 75 176 Google Scholar

Domenella, Ana Rosa, 2001. 'El espacio bárbaro (Daniel Sada, Mónica Lavín y Juan Villoro)', en Cuento y mortaja (La ficción en México), ed. Alfredo Pavón (Mexico City: CONA CUL TA/INBA), pp. 93–111. El espacio bárbaro (Daniel Sada, Mónica Lavín y Juan Villoro) Cuento y mortaja (La ficción en México) 93 111 Google Scholar

Fabian, Johannes, 1983. Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object (New York: Columbia University Press). Time and the Other: How Anthropology Makes Its Object Google Scholar

Gil Adalid, Ana Luisa, 1997. 'Daniel Sada: Albedrío', Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea, 2: 81–84. Daniel Sada: Albedrío Revista de Literatura Mexicana Contemporánea 2 81 84 Google Scholar

Iglesias Prieto, Norma, 1985. La flor más bella de la maquiladora: historias de vida de la mujer obrera en Tijuana, B.C.N. (Mexico City: SEP/Centro de Estudios Fronterizos del Norte de México). La flor más bella de la maquiladora: historias de vida de la mujer obrera en Tijuana, B.C.N. Google Scholar

Johnson, David E., 1992. 'Excavating Spirit on the American Border: Hegel, Paz, La Crítica, and the Pachuco', Siglo XX/20th Century: Critique and Cultural Discourse, 10.1–2: 49–80. Excavating Spirit on the American Border: Hegel, Paz, La Crítica, and the Pachuco Siglo XX/20th Century: Critique and Cultural Discourse 10 49 80 Google Scholar

Johnson, David E., 1997. 'The Time of Translation: The Border of American Literature', Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics, ed. David E. Johnson and Scott Michaelsen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), pp. 129–65. The Time of Translation: The Border of American Literature Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics 129 65 Google Scholar

Johnson, David E., 2005. 'Invitation to Politics: Juan García Ponce and the Promise of Availability', Discourse, 27.2–3: 41–67. Invitation to Politics: Juan García Ponce and the Promise of Availability Discourse 27 41 67 Google Scholar

Johnson, David E., and Scott Michaelsen, 1997. 'Border Secrets: An Introduction', in Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics, ed. David E. Johnson and Scott Michaelsen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press), pp. 1–39. Border Secrets: An Introduction Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics 1 39 Google Scholar

Kolodny, Annette, 1975. The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press). The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters Google Scholar

Núñez Noriega, Guillermo, 1993. 'La metanarrativa de progreso y la emergencia de subalternidades. El caso de "la sierra" en Sonora, México', Revista de El Colegio de Sonora, 6: 77–91. La metanarrativa de progreso y la emergencia de subalternidades. El caso de "la sierra" en Sonora, México Revista de El Colegio de Sonora 6 77 91 Google Scholar

Rodríguez Lozano, Miguel G., 2003. Escenarios del norte de México: Daniel Sada, Gerardo Cornejo, Jesús Gardea y Ricardo Elizondo (Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Antónoma de México). Escenarios del norte de México: Daniel Sada, Gerardo Cornejo, Jesús Gardea y Ricardo Elizondo Google Scholar

Sada, Daniel, 1985. 'No entiendo el arte sin pasión', El cuento está en no creérselo, comp. Roberto Brava, et al. (Tuxtla Gutiérrez: Universidad Autónoma de Chiapas), pp. 172–82. Google Scholar

Sada, Daniel, 1992. Registro de causantes (Mexico City: Ed. Joaquín Mortiz). Registro de causantes Google Scholar

Tabuenca Córdoba, María del Socorro, 1998. 'Border Perspectives desde las Fronteras', Living Chicana Theory, ed. Carla Mari Trujillo (Berkeley: Third Woman Press), pp. 232–62. Border Perspectives desde las Fronteras Living Chicana Theory 232 62 Google Scholar

Torres, Vicente Francisco, 1991. 'Daniel Sada: inventar un lenguaje', Esta narrativa mexicana: ensayos y entrevistas (Mexico City: Editorial Leega), pp. 115–22. Daniel Sada: inventar un lenguaje Esta narrativa mexicana: ensayos y entrevistas 115 22 Google Scholar

Valenzuela Arce, José Manuel, 1991. Empapados de sereno: el Movimiento Urbano Popular en Baja California (1928–1988) (Tijuana: Colegio de la Frontera Norte). Empapados de sereno: el Movimiento Urbano Popular en Baja California (1928–1988) Google Scholar

Vaquera Vásquez, Santiago, 1997. Wandering Stories: Place, Itinerancy, and Cultural Liminality in the Borderlands, unpublished dissertation (Santa Barbara, CA: University of California). Google Scholar

Villalobos, José Pablo, 2007. 'Up against the Border: A Literary Response', Border Transits: Literature and Culture across the Line, ed. Ana María Manzanas (New York: Rodopi), pp. 35–52. Up against the Border: A Literary Response Border Transits: Literature and Culture across the Line 35 52 Google Scholar

Vilanova, Núria, 2002. 'Another Textual Frontier: Contemporary Fiction on the Northern Mexican Border', Bulletin of Latin American Research, 21.1: 73–98. Another Textual Frontier: Contemporary Fiction on the Northern Mexican Border Bulletin of Latin American Research 21 73 98 Google Scholar

Villoro, Juan, 1995. 'La frontera de los ilegales', Anales de literatura hispanoamericana, 24: 67–74. La frontera de los ilegales Anales de literatura hispanoamericana 24 67 74 Google Scholar

Zavala, Oswaldo, 2006. Literature to Infinity: A Borgesian Genealogy of Contemporary Mexican Narrative, unpublished dissertation (Austin: University of Texas). Google Scholar

Zuñiga, Victor, 1995. 'El norte de México como desierto cultural: anatomía de una idea', puentelibre, 4: 18–23. El norte de México como desierto cultural: anatomía de una idea puentelibre 4 18 23 Google Scholar

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Fallon, Paul