Tucson Festival of Books

Lydia R. Otero


Sponsored by Friend of the Festival

Lydia R. Otero received a Ph.D. in History in 2003 and is an Emeritus Associate Professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. In 2011, their book "La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwestern City" (2010) won a Southwest Book Award from the Border Regional Library Association. It focuses on a 1966 urban renewal project, which targeted the most densely populated 80 acres in Arizona. Although Mexican Americans dominated the renewal area demographically, most of the city’s Asian and African Americans also lived there. In this work, Otero focuses on individual and collective memory, and the power of historical narratives to ensure—or resist—social, cultural, and economic dominance.  

Building on these themes, Otero released "In the Shadows of the Freeway: Growing Up Brown & Queer" in 2019 which merges personal memoir and the historical archive. The construction of the I-10 freeway in the 1950s destroyed residences and became a barrier that served to further disrupt, destroy and segregate Tucson’s barrios. Otero interrogates the environmental racism they witnessed and how it affected residents’ quality of life. For their family and neighbors, its effects were oftentimes lethal, resulting in layers of unresolved intergenerational trauma.  

Otero released their second memoir, "L.A. Interchanges: A Brown & Queer Memoir" on July 31, 2023. Through photographs, and archival documents this book is a narrative of personal becoming amid the political and cultural currents of 1980s Los Angeles. 

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Communities: Arizona Author, Tucsonan, LGBTQ+, Gender Nonconforming, Hispanic or Latinx


Scheduled events:
Lydia R. Otero
In the Shadows of the Freeway: Growing Up Brown & Queer

Border Community Alliance, Booth #264 (Seats 1)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sun, Mar 10, 9:30 am - 10:30 am
Nuestras Raices

Author: Lydia Otero
Voces Tucsonenses
Three Tucson-born authors talk about activism, struggles, and empowerment within the Mexican American community through history and/or personal lived experiences, as well as ties to their hometown.

Nuestras Raíces Stage (Seats 150)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sun, Mar 10, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Nuestras Raices
Signing area: Pima County Public Library/Nuestras Raíces/Craft Tent & Signing Area (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Henry Barajas, Elizabeth Camarillo Gutierrez, Lydia Otero
Moderator: Selina Barajas
Retro Queer: LGBTQ+ Narratives From the 80s
Dr. Lydia Otero and Manuel Muñoz engage on the topic of intersectionality between Mexican American, queer, and social class identities through a historical lens in circa 1980s California.

Nuestras Raíces Stage (Seats 150)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sun, Mar 10, 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Nuestras Raices
Signing area: Pima County Public Library/Nuestras Raíces/Craft Tent & Signing Area (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Manuel Muñoz, Lydia Otero
Moderator: Dominique Calza

Books:
L.A. Interchanges
A Brown & Queer Archival Memoir
Nuestras Raices
Planet Earth Press
July 2023
ISBN 9781734118087
208 pages
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By combining the intimacy of a personal memoir with the rigor of documentary history, Lydia Otero weaves together a rich narrative of identity, activism, and personal transformation. More/less

La Calle
Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City
Current Issues / Politics / Social Science
University of Arizona Press
November 2010
ISBN 9780816528882
Kindle Edition, 271 pages
$26.95, INSTORE
Buy now