Black Mexico: Nineteenth-Century Discourses of Race and Nation

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Black Mexico: Nineteenth-Century Discourses of Race and Nation
Ramos, Marisela Jimenez (creator)
Cope, Robert (director)
Hu-DeHart, Evelyn (director)
Garcia, Matt (reader)
Brown University. History (sponsor)
Copyright Date
By looking into the role of Blackness, or negritud, in nineteenth-century discourses of nation I seek to formulate a new understanding of Mexico's national identity, but primarily a new theoretical understanding of ethnic relations in the period after independence. In Black Mexico I investigate the social and political processes that contributed to the eventual?but by no means inevitable??disappearance' of Blacks and all things African from the national self-consciousness of modern Mexico. To be more precise, I provide answers to the following questions: In the absence of racial categories in post-independence Mexico how did the understanding of what it meant to be Black change for former Blacks and for non-Blacks? More importantly, how did these definitions fit within the evolving concept of "Mexicanness"? In Black Mexico I seek to make clear the role of Blacks and Blackness in nineteenth-century Mexican discourses of nation and to document their contributions to the makeup of mestizaje. While the discourse of mestizaje is attributed to the twentieth century, I argue that in fact similar discourses and notions of racial equality were taking place as early as the nineteenth century, demonstrating that the ideology of mestizaje was the culmination of a historical process. José Vasconcelos did not theorize this ideology so much as name it. On the one hand, racial discourse served as a unifying force in post-independence Mexico. On the other hand, however, the ideology of racial mixture, in general, and of mestizaje, specifically, led to the erasure of all things African. In reality, Blacks "disappeared" through omission from nineteenth-century discourses of race and nation, a process I call the Black exception?a process that was by no means inevitable. Through a episodic approach to various forms of discourse, including literary, historical, national, and local, I show how the historical record may be mined for evidence of the conflicting ideologies determining the context of the roles that Blacks would play?or would not be allowed to play?in the new nation.
Black Mexico
national identity
Written communication
Nineteenth century
National characteristics
Thesis (Ph.D.) -- Brown University (2009)
vi, 262 p.


Ramos, Marisela Jimenez, "Black Mexico: Nineteenth-Century Discourses of Race and Nation" (2009). History Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.