This essay considers the Latinx archive and argues for the continued importance of the nation in understanding Latinx culture. For decades, scholars have recovered a variety of divergent forms of writing that challenge the possibility of a Latinx literary canon. These writings operate in disparate modes and genres, do not always fit neatly within traditional understandings of “literature,” and are frequently fragmentary or incomplete—what the essay terms “archival excess,” which runs counter to the perceived lack of US Latinx literary and cultural production and is inherently unstable and evolving. The essay asserts that an unstable Latinx archive is not only symptomatic of but also essential to the project of contemporary latinidad. The US nation and its attendant discourses of nationalism help contain archival excess, even as the Latinx archive challenges national borders and narratives. For this reason and for its political urgency, Latinx studies needs to maintain recourse to the US nation, despite the field necessarily operating as methodologically transnational.

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