Robert Con Davis-Undiano Oral History Interview


The Rudolfo Anaya Digital Archive is an online portal dedicated to the life and work of Rudolfo Anaya, a prolific writer, a pivotal figure in Chicano and American literature, an advocate for multicultural literacy and education, and a generous community activist in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The oral history component of the portal is designed to offer scholars and fans an enhanced understanding of Anaya’s biography, highlighting his contributions to the fields of literature, Chicana/o studies, and Southwest studies. The interviews present expert evaluations of Anaya’s work and its significance, as well as first-hand accounts of encounters and collaborations with the renowned author.

Interview #1: A professor of English at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Robert Con Davis-Undiano has written extensively on the intersecting subjects of literary criticism, cultural theory, and American identity, with a particular focus on Chicano Studies and the Mexican American experience. His work over the past few decades has been directed at emphasizing the often neglected or marginalized contributions of Mexican Americans to major advances in mainstream U.S. culture. In his most recent book, Mestizos Come home!  (2016), Davis-Undiano examines the ways in which the continuous presence of Mexican-American communities has shaped the nation as a whole. The impact, he argues, is profoundly significant, and can be recognized across several overlapping arenas: social transformation related to racial identity, changing views of communities and their connection with the land, critical influences on popular culture, alternative (non-European) understandings of the human body, and the rise of a distinct Chicano voice in literature and culture. Interview by Sophie Ell.