The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940

Posted in Asian Diaspora, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2012-01-21 04:48Z by Steven

The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940

University of Arizona Press
272 pages
6.00 in x 9.00
Paper (978-0-8165-1460-1)
Cloth (978-0-8165-2772-4)

Robert Chao Romero, Associate Professor of Chicana/o Studies and Asian American Studies
University of California, Los Angeles

An estimated 60,000 Chinese entered Mexico during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, constituting Mexico’s second-largest foreign ethnic community at the time. The Chinese in Mexico provides a social history of Chinese immigration to and settlement in Mexico in the context of the global Chinese diaspora of the era.

Robert Romero argues that Chinese immigrants turned to Mexico as a new land of economic opportunity after the passage of the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. As a consequence of this legislation, Romero claims, Chinese immigrants journeyed to Mexico in order to gain illicit entry into the United States and in search of employment opportunities within Mexico’s developing economy. Romero details the development, after 1882, of the “Chinese transnational commercial orbit,” a network encompassing China, Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean, shaped and traveled by entrepreneurial Chinese pursuing commercial opportunities in human smuggling, labor contracting, wholesale merchandising, and small-scale trade.

Romero’s study is based on a wide array of Mexican and U.S. archival sources. It draws from such quantitative and qualitative sources as oral histories, census records, consular reports, INS interviews, and legal documents. Two sources, used for the first time in this kind of study, provide a comprehensive sociological and historical window into the lives of Chinese immigrants in Mexico during these years: the Chinese Exclusion Act case files of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the 1930 Mexican municipal census manuscripts. From these documents, Romero crafts a vividly personal and compelling story of individual lives caught in an extensive network of early transnationalism.

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Perspective on Mixed-Blood Natives: The Silence of Indian Country

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2012-01-07 18:28Z by Steven

Perspective on Mixed-Blood Natives: The Silence of Indian Country

Native News Network
Native Condition: Analysis and Opinion

Mike Raccoon Eyes
Eastern Band of the Cherokee
Quallah, North Carolina

SAN FRANCISCO—Cherokee culture was steeped deeply into the great Meso-American pyramid temple cities as early as 800 AD. When the Olmecs, Toltecs, Mayans and Aztecs were moving from north to south deep into Mexico and Central America. They quickly absorbed and embraced building their own great pyramid temple spiritual cities they had observed and seen in the great Cherokee cities of the Southeast.

Cherokee intermarriage to both the Mexican and Central Americans would become the norm for the next 300 years. The mixed-blood Cherokees would hold a high place of honor within the Meso-American world of Mexico and Central America. For the mixed-blood Cherokee of the time were the priests, prophets, engineers and administrators, who were the elite of running the new spiritual pyramid temple cities of both Mexico and Central America. Without the mixed-blood Cherokees, the great pyramid temple cities in Mexico and Central America would cease to run, much less function.

The Cherokee started having intergenerational marriage with the Europeans in the early 1700s. Many Cherokee bands and families were quick to see the economic benefits of having trade, land and business dealings with Europeans. In a sense this could be viewed as a classic Cherokee version of the ‘hang around the fort Indians’. However this story was not true for the majority of mixed-blood Cherokee people of that time.

The preference of mixed-blood Cherokee men of the time was to marry European or other mixed-blood Cherokee women. Their children and grandchildren would follow suit. The new generation of light-skinned mixed-blood bourgeoisie Cherokee would wash their hands of and renounce the traditional ways of Cherokee culture and Spirituality.

However, there was another side to the mixed-blood Cherokee people that has been neglected and treated with silence. The story is that of the traditional mixed-blood Cherokee that retained their cultural and Spiritual identities…

Read the entire essay here.

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Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs, Religion on 2012-01-02 04:35Z by Steven

Colonial Blackness: A History of Afro-Mexico

Indiana University Press
248 pages
6.125 x 9.25
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-253-22331-9

Herman L. Bennett, Professor of Latin American History
City Univerisity of New York

Asking readers to imagine a history of Mexico narrated through the experiences of Africans and their descendants, this book offers a radical reconfiguration of Latin American history. Using ecclesiastical and inquisitorial records, Herman L. Bennett frames the history of Mexico around the private lives and liberty that Catholicism engendered among enslaved Africans and free blacks, who became majority populations soon after the Spanish conquest. The resulting history of 17th-century Mexico brings forth tantalizing personal and family dramas, body politics, and stories of lost virtue and sullen honor. By focusing on these phenomena among peoples of African descent, rather than the conventional history of Mexico with the narrative of slavery to freedom figured in, Colonial Blackness presents the colonial drama in all its untidy detail.

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Escaping to Destinations South: The Underground Railroad, Cultural Identity, and Freedom Along the Southern Borderlands

Posted in Caribbean/Latin America, Forthcoming Media, History, Live Events, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, Texas, United States, Wanted/Research Requests/Call for Papers on 2011-12-29 00:07Z by Steven

Escaping to Destinations South: The Underground Railroad, Cultural Identity, and Freedom Along the Southern Borderlands

National Park Service
Network to Freedom
2012-06-20 through 2012-06-24
St. Augustine, Florida

The Network to Freedom has joined with local partners to present an annual UGRR [Underground Railroad] conference beginning in 2007. These conferences bring together a mix of grass roots researchers, community advocates, site stewards, government officials, and scholars to explore the history of the Underground Railroad. Rotated to different parts of the country, the conferences highlight the unique history of various regions along with new research.

The 2012 Conference theme is the resistance to slavery through escape and flight to and from the South, including through international flight, from the 16th century to the end of the Civil War. Traditional views of the Underground Railroad focus on Northern destinations of freedom seekers, with symbols such as the North Star, Canada, and the Ohio River (the River Jordan) constructed as the primary beacons of freedom. This conception reduces the complexity of the Underground Railroad by ignoring the many freedom seekers that sought to obtain their freedom in southern destinations.

Likewise, borders and the movement across them by southern freedom seekers are also very crucial to our understanding of the complexities of the Underground Railroad. Freedom seekers often sought out political and geographical borderlands, as crossing these locations usually represented the divide between slavery and freedom. To this end, the conference will explore how southern freedom seekers seized opportunities to escape slavery into Spanish Florida and the Seminole Nation, to the Caribbean Islands, and into the western borderlands of Indian Territory, Texas, and Mexico.

Escape from enslavement was not just about physical freedom, but also about the search for cultural autonomy. The conference will explore the transformation and creation of new cultural identities among southern freedom seekers that occurred as a result of their journeys to freedom, such as the dispersal of Gullah Geechee culture and the formation of Black Seminole cultural identity.

The 2012 Conference will include participation by independent and academic scholars at all levels, educators, community activists, public historians and preservationists, and multi-media and performance artists. The conference seeks to create a cultural, historical, and interpretive exchange between domestic and international descendent communities of southern freedom seekers.

Gullah Geechee and Black Seminole descendants are particularly welcome at the conference.

For more information, click here.  Call for papers information (Deadline 2012-01-15) is here.

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Black Mexico: Race and Society from Colonial to Modern Times

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Mexico, Slavery, Social Science on 2011-12-05 00:14Z by Steven

Black Mexico: Race and Society from Colonial to Modern Times

University of New Mexico Press
296 pages
6 x 9 in, 21 halftones, 4 maps
paperback ISBN: 978-0-8263-4701-5

Edited by:

Ben Vinson III, Professor of history and Director of the Center for Africana Studies
Johns Hopkins University

Matthew Restall, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of History and Director of Latin American Studies
Pennsylvania State University

The essays in this collection build upon a series of conversations and papers that resulted from “New Directions in North American Scholarship on Afro-Mexico,” a symposium conducted at Pennsylvania State University in 2004. The issues addressed include contested historiography, social and economic contributions of Afro-Mexicans, social construction of race and ethnic identity, forms of agency and resistance, and contemporary inquiry into ethnographic work on Afro-Mexican communities. Comprised of a core set of chapters that examine the colonial period and a shorter epilogue addressing the modern era, this volume allows the reader to explore ideas of racial representation from the sixteenth century into the twenty-first.


Joan Bristol, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Patrick Carroll, Texas A & M University, Corpus Christi
Andrew B. Fisher, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota
Nicole von Germeten, Oregon State University, Corvallis
Laura A. Lewis, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia
Jean-Philibert Mobwa Mobwa N’djoli, Congolese native living in Mexico City
Frank “Trey” Proctor III, Denison University, Granville, Ohio
Alva Moore Stevenson, University of California, Los Angeles
Bobby Vaughn, Notre Dame de Namur University, Belmont, California

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Creating and Contesting Community: Indians and Afromestizos in the Late-Colonial Tierra Caliente of Guerrero, Mexico

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2011-12-04 23:57Z by Steven

Creating and Contesting Community: Indians and Afromestizos in the Late-Colonial Tierra Caliente of Guerrero, Mexico
Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History
Volume 7, Number 1, Spring 2006
E-ISSN: 1532-5768
DOI: 10.1353/cch.2006.0030

Andrew B. Fisher, Associate Professor of History
Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota

Late in the afternoon of January 13, 1783 the parish priest of Tetela del Río, Br. don Nicolás Vásquez, rested in the hamlet (cuadrilla) of Cacalotepeque as he prepared to trek back to his parish seat. Father Vásquez had arrived only an hour earlier to minister to the ailing daughter of Capitán Luis de la Cruz, the mulato leader of the settlement. Cacalotepeque was but one of a number of informal communities scattered across the mid-Balsas River Valley of western Mexico. Consisting mostly of mulato farmers, the hamlet was neither recognized by the colonial state as an Indian pueblo nor held as a private estate. The land it occupied did not belong to its inhabitants, but rather comprised part of the contested territorial limits of two rival Indian pueblos, Tetela and Apaxtla, situated roughly equidistant from both. Much as Afromestizos lacked a stable and recognized position within colonial racial hierarchies, a semi-autonomous Afromestizo community likewise confronted a precarious existence. This reality was made abundantly clear to Father Vásquez on that fateful afternoon. As he conversed with the hamlet’s residents, some sixty indigenous villagers from Apaxtla approached on horseback. Several local men informed Vásquez that the villagers had arrived to steal away the cuadrilla’s corn, inducing…

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Imperial Subjects: Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Mexico, Native Americans/First Nation on 2011-12-04 23:23Z by Steven

Imperial Subjects: Race and Identity in Colonial Latin America

Duke University Press
320 pages
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-4401-8
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8223-4420-9

Edited by:

Matthew D. O’Hara, Assistant Professor of History
University of California, Santa Cruz

Andrew Fisher, Associate Professor of History
Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota

In colonial Latin America, social identity did not correlate neatly with fixed categories of race and ethnicity. As Imperial Subjects demonstrates, from the early years of Spanish and Portuguese rule, understandings of race and ethnicity were fluid. In this collection, historians offer nuanced interpretations of identity as they investigate how Iberian settlers, African slaves, Native Americans, and their multi-ethnic progeny understood who they were as individuals, as members of various communities, and as imperial subjects. The contributors’ explorations of the relationship between colonial ideologies of difference and the identities historical actors presented span the entire colonial period and beyond: from early contact to the legacy of colonial identities in the new republics of the nineteenth century. The volume includes essays on the major colonial centers of Mexico, Peru, and Brazil, as well as the Caribbean basin and the imperial borderlands.

Whether analyzing cases in which the Inquisition found that the individuals before it were “legally” Indians and thus exempt from prosecution, or considering late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century petitions for declarations of whiteness that entitled the mixed-race recipients to the legal and social benefits enjoyed by whites, the book’s contributors approach the question of identity by examining interactions between imperial subjects and colonial institutions. Colonial mandates, rulings, and legislation worked in conjunction with the exercise and negotiation of power between individual officials and an array of social actors engaged in countless brief interactions. Identities emerged out of the interplay between internalized understandings of self and group association and externalized social norms and categories.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword / Irene Silverblatt
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Racial Identities and Their Interpreters in Colonial Latin America / Andrew B. Fisher and Matthew D. O’Hara
  • 1. Aristocracy on the Auction Block: Race, Lords, and the Perpetuity Controversy of Sixteenth-Century Peru / Jeremy Mumford
  • 2. A Market of Identities: Women, Trade, and Ethnic Labels in Colonial Potosí­ / Jane E. Mangan
  • 3. Legally Indian: Inquisitorial Readings of Indigenous Identity in New Spain / David Tavárez
  • 4. The Many Faces of Colonialism in Two Iberoamerican Borderlands: Northern New Spain and the Eastern Lowlands of Charcas / Cynthia Radding
  • 5. Humble Slaves and Loyal Vassals: Free Africans and Their Descendents in Eighteenth-Century Minas Gerais, Brazil / Mariana L. R. Dantas
  • 6. Purchasing Whiteness: Conversations of the Essence of Parso-ness and Mulatto-ness at the End of Empire / Ann Twinam
  • 7. Patricians and Plebians in Late Colonial Charcas: Identity, Representation, and Colonialism / Sergio Serulnikov
  • 8. Conjuring Identities: Race, Nativeness, Local Citizenship, and Royal Slavery on an Imperial Frontier (Revisiting El Cobre, Cuba) / María Elena Díaz
  • 9. Indigenous Citizenship: Liberalism, Political Participation, and Ethic Identity in Post-Independence Oaxaca and Yucatán / Karen D. Caplan
  • Conclusion / R. Douglas Cope
  • Bibliography
  • Contributors
  • Index
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Racial, Religious, and Civic Creole Identity in Colonial Spanish America

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, Media Archive, Mexico, Religion on 2011-11-30 03:17Z by Steven

Racial, Religious, and Civic Creole Identity in Colonial Spanish America

The Journal of American History
Volume 17, Issue 3 (Fall 2005)
pages 420-437
DOI: 10.1093/alh/aji024

Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History
University of Texas, Austin

Patrocinio de la Virgen de Guadalupe sobre el Reino de Nueva España (“Auspices of Our Lady of Guadalupe over the Kingdom of New Spain”) (Fig. 1) is an eighteenth-century canvass by an anonymous Mexican painter that rather vividly captures Creole discourses in colonial Mexico. A garlanded Our Lady of Guadalupe stands on top of a fountain from which four kneeling nobles, two indigenous, two Hispanic, drink.

Fountains had long been associated with salvation and purity in Christian discourse. For example, in their 1596 Ghent altarpiece, Fountain of Life and Mercy, Gerard Horenbout (1467–1540) and his son Lucas Horenbout (d. 1544) have the community of the pious drink of a fountain whose source is the body of Christ (Fig. 2). Believers eucharistically partake of the blood of Christ, whose wounds refill the well. Some princes and clerics, including a turbaned potentate and a tonsured friar, who stand for the Turks and Luther, respectively, turn their backs on the fountain as they gather to worship Dame World. To reinforce the Counter-Reformation message, the Flemish Horenbouts have angels hovering over the pious and demons over the infidels and heretics.

The same theological and compositional principles organize the Mexican painting, but the fountain’s spring is Our Lady of Guadalupe and both natives and Hispanics kneel to drink from the well. Using this virgin as the source of the “fountain of life and mercy” came naturally to those who thought of Our Lady of Guadalupe as an immaculate conception, for some of the imagery underlying the belief in the immaculate conception came from the Song of Songs, one of the strangest books of the Old Testament. According to Christian theology, the Song of Songs prefigures the mystery of St. Mary’s conception by describing a woman, the lover of God, as a walled garden (hortus conclusus) and a fountain (“You are like a private garden, my treasure, my bride! You are like a spring that no one can drink from, a fountain of my own” [Song of Solomon 4.12]). The most striking difference between the Mexican painting and Horenbout’s is that in the former no party turns its back on the fountain: both Indians and Europeans belong in the same community of the pious…

…I have chosen the painting Patrocinio de la Virgen de Guadalupe sobre el Reino deNueva España to introduce this essay because it summarizes much of what I believe to be distinct about Creole discourse in colonial Spanish America: Creoles saw their lands to be equally rooted in the indigenous and Hispanic pasts. In their imagination, colonial Spanish American societies were kingdoms, ancien regime societies made up of social estates and corporate privileges, with deep, ancient dynastic roots in both the New World and Spain. For heuristic purposes, I have divided this essay to coincide with the compositional elements of the painting: Creoles and Indians; Creoles and religion, particularly Our Lady of Guadalupe: and Creoles and Spain. But before turning to my tripartite analysis, we need first to clarify who the Creoles were.

1. Criollos

The self-styled Criollos or Creoles were local elites who presided over racially mixed colonial societies of Indians, blacks, Spaniards, and castas (mixed bloods). Creoles felt entitled to rule over these racially and culturally heterogeneous societies, as part of a loosely held Catholic composite monarchy whose center was back in Madrid. By and large they succeeded in their efforts to obtain autonomy vis-a-vis Spain, but their rule over these local “kingdoms” was always precarious and negotiated. Although Peninsular newcomers, including representatives of the sprawling lay and religious bureaucracies that the crown created in Spanish America, were usually marshaled into serving Creole interests either through bribes or marriage, Creoles felt voiceless and discriminated against. To be sure, they were right to complain. Back in Spain, the Indies were seen as corrupting, degenerating environments: frontier societies where one could get rich but sorely lacking in sophistication and culture. Upon arrival in the Indies. Peninsulares felt naturally entitled to hold political, religious, and economic power, and Creoles resented such pretensions…

2. Creole and Indians

How could an ancien regime society where social and racial estates overlapped produce a painting like Patrocinio de la Virgen de Guadalupe sobre el Reino de Nueva España, in which both Indians and Hispanic nobilities are held to be equal participants in the ideal Christian commonwealth? The answer lies precisely in the very nature of the ancien regime the Creole elites envisioned. Creoles saw themselves as the product of the biological, racial amalgamation of Indian and Spanish elites that took place during the first years of colonization.

Clerical writers considered the miscegenation of Spaniards and Indians appropriate only when it brought elites together. The initial colonial sexual embrace of Indian elites and Spanish conquerors was. therefore, welcomed and praised. The type of “vulgar” miscegenation that brought later commoners of different races together was another matter. The vulgar mestizaje was seen as a threat to the existence of idealized hierarchical polities. Mestizos were consistently portrayed as evil, out-of-control individuals responsible for bringing sinful lifestyles, including a culture of lies and deception, into Indian communities that the clergy sought to keep unsoiled…

Read the entire article here.

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Chinese Mexicans: Transpacific Migration and the Search for a Homeland, 1910-1960

Posted in Books, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico, Monographs on 2011-11-25 03:02Z by Steven

Chinese Mexicans: Transpacific Migration and the Search for a Homeland, 1910-1960

University of North Carolina Press
May 2012
256 pages
6.125 x 9.25, 11 halftones, 2 maps, 4 tables
Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8078-3540-1

Published in association with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University

Julia María Schiavone Camacho, Assistant Professor of History
University of Texas, El Paso

At the turn of the twentieth century, a wave of Chinese men made their way to the northern Mexican border state of Sonora to work and live. The ties—and families—these Mexicans and Chinese created during led to the formation of a new cultural identity: Chinese Mexican. During the tumult of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, however, anti-Chinese sentiment ultimately led to mass expulsion of these people. Julia María Schiavone Camacho follows the community through the mid-twentieth century, across borders and oceans, to show how they fought for their place as Mexicans, both in Mexico and abroad.

Tracing transnational geography, Schiavone Camacho explores how these men and women developed a strong sense of Mexican national identity while living abroadin the United States, briefly, and then in southeast Asia where they created a hybrid community and taught their children about the Mexican homeland. Schiavone Camacho also addresses how Mexican women challenged their legal status after being stripped of Mexican citizenship because they married Chinese men. After repatriation in the 1930s-1960s, Chinese Mexican men and women, who had left Mexico with strong regional identities, now claimed national cultural belonging and Mexican identity in ways they had not before.

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Filipinos in Nueva España: Filipino-Mexican Relations, Mestizaje, and Identity in Colonial and Contemporary Mexico

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Mexico on 2011-11-22 22:52Z by Steven

Filipinos in Nueva España: Filipino-Mexican Relations, Mestizaje, and Identity in Colonial and Contemporary Mexico

Journal of Asian American Studies
Volume 14, Number 3 (October 2011)
pages 389-416

Rudy P. Guevarra, Jr., Assistant Professor, Asian Pacific American Studies, School of Social Transformation, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Arizona State University

This essay examines how the Manila-Acapulco galleon era (1565-1815) under Spanish colonialism forged the early mestizaje between Filipino Indio men and Mexican Indian and mixed race women, which produced children who became the first multiethnic Mexican-Filipinos in Nueva España (Mexico). This story is juxtaposed with current migrations of Filipinos to Mexico via the vacation cruise liners, which share a story of contemporary mixing between Filipinos and Mexicans. By acknowledging both their identities and looking to the past, these modern day multiethnic Mexipinos and Filipinos connect to a long historical web of interconnectedness which underpins the mestizaje that began in the sixteenth century.

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