Sanctioning Matrimony: Interethnic Marriage in the Arizona Borderlands

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, United States, Women on 2016-04-05 02:48Z by Steven

Sanctioning Matrimony: Interethnic Marriage in the Arizona Borderlands

University of Arizona Press
256 pages
6.00 x 9.00
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8165-3237-7

Sal Acosta, Assistant Professor of History
Fordham University

A new look at race and ethnicity in the borderlands

Marriage, divorce, birth, baptism, and census records are the essential records of a community. Through them we see who marries, who divorces, and how many children are born. Sal Acosdta has studied a broad base of these vital records to produce the largest quantitative study of intermarriage of any group in the West. Sanctioning Matrimony examines intermarriage in the Tucson area between 1860 and 1930. Unlike previous studies on intermarriage, this book examines not only intermarriages of Mexicans with whites but also their unions with blacks and Chinese.

Following the Treaty of Mesilla (1853), interethnic relationships played a significant part in the Southwest. Acosta provides previously unseen archival research on the scope and tenor of interracial marriages in Arizona. Contending that scholarship on intermarriage has focused on the upper classes, Acosta takes us into the world of the working and lower classes and illuminates how church and state shaped the behavior of participants in interracial unions.

Marriage practices in Tucson reveal that Mexican women were pivotal in shaping family and social life between 1854 and 1930. Virtually all intermarriages before 1900 were, according to Acosta, between Mexican women and white men, or between Mexican women and blacks or Chinese until the 1920s, illustrating the importance of these women during the transformation of Tucson from a Mexican pueblo to an American town.

Acosta’s deep analysis of vital records, census data, and miscegenation laws in Arizona demonstrates how interethnic relationships benefited from and extended the racial fluidity of the Arizona borderlands.

Tags: , , , , ,

A Contested Art: Modernism and Mestizaje in New Mexico

Posted in Anthropology, Arts, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2016-04-05 02:15Z by Steven

A Contested Art: Modernism and Mestizaje in New Mexico

University of Oklahoma Press
304 pages
6.125″ x 9.25″
Hardcover ISBN: 9780806148649

Stephanie Lewthwaite, Lecturer in American History, Faculty of Arts
University of Nottingham

When New Mexico became an alternative cultural frontier for avant-garde Anglo-American writers and artists in the early twentieth century, the region was still largely populated by Spanish-speaking Hispanos. Anglos who came in search of new personal and aesthetic freedoms found inspiration for their modernist ventures in Hispano art forms. Yet, when these arrivistes elevated a particular model of Spanish colonial art through their preservationist endeavors and the marketplace, practicing Hispano artists found themselves working under a new set of patronage relationships and under new aesthetic expectations that tied their art to a static vision of the Spanish colonial past.

In A Contested Art, historian Stephanie Lewthwaite examines the complex Hispano response to these aesthetic dictates and suggests that cultural encounters and appropriation produced not only conflict and loss but also new transformations in Hispano art as the artists experimented with colonial art forms and modernist trends in painting, photography, and sculpture. Drawing on native and non-native sources of inspiration, they generated alternative lines of modernist innovation and mestizo creativity. These lines expressed Hispanos’ cultural and ethnic affiliations with local Native peoples and with Mexico, and presented a vision of New Mexico as a place shaped by the fissures of modernity and the dynamics of cultural conflict and exchange.

A richly illustrated work of cultural history, this first book-length treatment explores the important yet neglected role Hispano artists played in shaping the world of modernism in twentieth-century New Mexico. A Contested Art places Hispano artists at the center of narratives about modernism while bringing Hispano art into dialogue with the cultural experiences of Mexicans, Chicanas/os, and Native Americans. In doing so, it rewrites a chapter in the history of both modernism and Hispano art.

Published in cooperation with The William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University

Tags: , , ,

Exploring Whiteness in a Black-Indian Village on Mexico’s Costa Chica

Posted in Anthropology, Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery on 2016-04-05 01:49Z by Steven

Exploring Whiteness in a Black-Indian Village on Mexico’s Costa Chica

The Latin American Diaries
Institute of Latin American Studies

Laura A. Lewis, Professor of Latin American Anthropology
University of Southampton

During the early colonial period, Mexico had one of the largest African slave populations in Latin America. Today, there are numerous historically black communities along the coast of the states of Guerrero and Oaxaca – a region known as the Costa Chica. Towards the end of the 16th century, the Spanish Crown granted tracts of land in the region to several conquistadors who had quelled local Indian resistance. These conquistadors brought to the coast cattle for ranching, and – in the colonial vernacular – blacks and mulattoes, both free and enslaved, to work as cowboys, in agriculture, and as overseers, including of Indian labor.

As time went on, two ethnic zones developed: the foothills and highlands of the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range at the Costa Chica’s northern edge held Indian communities, while the zone closest to the coast became an ethnic mix that included Indians drawn willingly or unwillingly into the colonial ambit. On the coast, blacks, mulattoes and Indians worked together for Spaniards. Indians also taught blacks and mulattoes native healing, agricultural techniques and local building styles. Because demographics tilted towards African-descent males, informal and formal unions between them and Indian women were common. By the middle of the 17th century, many coastal belt villages were Afro-Indigenous…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Revealing the Race-Based Realities of Workforce Exclusion

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Media Archive, Social Science on 2016-04-05 00:27Z by Steven

Revealing the Race-Based Realities of Workforce Exclusion

NACLA Report on the Americas
Volume 47, Number 4 (Winter 2014)
pages 26-29

Tanya Katerí Hernández, Professor of Law
Fordham University

Advocates in the fight against poverty in Latin America often center class above race as the factor that most determines Afro-descendants’ life-chances. But a growing movement is setting the record straight.

Believing that the black population will be able to reach basic equality independently from what happens with the rest of poor Colombians, within general social policy, or economic growth…is dreaming in a vacuum,” said sociologist Daniel Mera Villamizar in a 2009 El Tiempo column on the Colombian government’s workplace affirmative action measures. Mera continues: “To resolve the historic ambiguity between racism and classism…by saying that race is the determining factor, is to buy a ticket to a conflict we don’t even know.” As critics of the column noted at the time, Mera’s words were at odds with many of the demands of the growing movements for racial justice across Latin America that have proliferated over the past 15 years. These groups are engaged in the fight to raise awareness of the ways race-based discrimination in Latin America cannot be sufficiently explained by the analyses—touted by many advocates and organizations engaged in anti-poverty struggles—that class is the determining mechanism of social and economic marginalization.

There are approximately 150 million people of African descent in Latin America, representing just over 30% of the total population and more than 40% of the poor. Advocates for racial equality in Latin America testify statistically and anecdotally to the fact that Afro-descendants face the frequent perception that they are undesirable elements of society, and are marginalized in politics, media, public life, the job market, and education systems. Mera’s call to avoid conflict by holding up class above race as the most salient factor in determining the life-chances of Afro-descendants echoes the notion—still widely held in much of Latin America—of the “myth of racial democracy.”

Increasingly critiqued over the past 20 years, the myth holds that Latin America’s racial mixture (mestizaje/mestiçagem) creates racial harmony and inherently guards against racial discord and inequality. This denial of racism is often rooted in a belief system that contrasts itself to the history of Jim Crow legislation in the United States. There is no more important place to understand the persistence of race-based marginalization in Latin America than in the increasingly well documented practices of labor market discrimination…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,