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
Ramos, Marisela Jimenez,
"Black Mexico: Nineteenth-Century Discourses of Race and Nation"
History Theses and Dissertations.
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