Indelible Practices of Hope: Worldbuilding 1990s Los Angeles
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Indelible Practices of Hope: Worldbuilding 1990s Los Angeles explores the ontological implications of one generation’s cultural practice for communities of color in a diverse, multilingual urban hub. Defining hope as the creation of new possibilities, my research weaves together an analysis of media, literature, and cultural praxis. I show how shared strategies of radical worldbuilding, the hopeful envisioning of new worlds, connect seemingly disparate forms of cultural production. Embedded in a long historical analysis, radical worldbuilding uses narrative strategies as practices of hope to make decolonial visions a reality. In the first two chapters of Indelible Practices of Hope, I argue that Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 and Alejandro Morales’s The Rag Doll Plagues challenge their audiences through radical worldbuilding narrative strategies, compelling audience members to see their complicity in neo-colonialism. The second half of the project leaves traditional texts behind to analyze cultural practice as cultural production. The chapter, “This Bridge Called Instagram: Collective Worldbuilding through Analogue and Digital Convivencia” reads the digital archive that documents the 1990s party crew communities as curated by Los Angeles artist Guadalupe Rosales, showing how Rosales’ use of Instagram facilitates hopeful worldbuilding. Connecting practices from the 1990s to those in the twenty-first century, the chapter “‘Oppression exists, but not here’” | The Ovarian Psyco-Cycle Brigade and the Importance of Storytelling,” reads the work of a Chicana and Womxn-of-color bicycle brigade from South East Los Angeles, as resistance frameworks built via practices of hope. As an example, by subscribing to different realities, the meeting guideline and narrative strategy “oppression exists, but not here” enacts radical worldbuilding through the creation of a space that is supportive, equitable, and lifegiving; it is propositional, not only oppositional.