Undocumented Acts: Migration, Community and Audience in Two Chicana Plays

Elizabeth Jacobs

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The 1980 Refugee Act endeavoured to provide effective settlement for refugees entering the United States. But most South American refugees escaping from dictatorships and civil wars were denied political asylum. This article explores the representation of migration and border crossing in Latina (1980), a play by Milcha Sánchez Scott that stages the difficulties associated with this journey. In 2010 Senate Bill 1070, one of the strictest anti-immigration legislative acts to be enforced, encouraged racial profiling in the identification of border crossers in the state of Arizona. Detained in the Desert (2011), a play by Josefina Lόpez, is a Chicana response to the passing of SB 1070, and contributes to a deeper understanding of the fraught experiences of migrant women’s lives. The study of the plays places an emphasis on transnational community building and audience engagement and builds on a range of recent critical work by border theorists and scholars such as Alicia Schmidt Camacho and Deborah Boehm, and theatre and performance critics such as Diana Taylor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-288
Number of pages12
JournalComparative American Studies: An International Journal
Issue number03-04
Early online date20 Dec 2016
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2016


  • Women's Theatre
  • Chicana theatre
  • US-Mexico border
  • gender
  • migration
  • undocumented
  • community
  • audience


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