Emergent ether : investigating healing spaces in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
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This thesis will theorize what healing looks like within a community and open with a comparison of two differing medical practices in south Texas, Weslaco Medical Clinic and Yerberia de Santa Muerte. From here, connections between physical realities and ritual practices are examined as Santa Muerte’s immaterial presence is analyzed as a powerful presence in the Yerberia de Santa Muerte’s shop. In the third chapter, I will investigate what it means to be an “acceptable” cultural icon and speak to the highly gendered power dynamics that each deity possesses within Mexican-American culture. By weaving these experiences and discussions together, I aim to discuss the shadowy figure of the cyborg curandera, a complex construction of a physical manifestation of the curandera’s body as it meshes and transmutes cultural knowledges and exchanges expected from a Mexican-American folk healer.