Category Archives: Race book

The coloniality of power

Here we have a copy of that Mignolo journal issue/book our library does not have. There’s an article by Sanjinés on the nation and it explains why the B. Anderson model does not work. And an article by J.D. Saldívar on Anzaldúa that thinks, as I have claimed to do, that what she does with language is one of the most effective aspects of her project in Borderlands/La Frontera. And there is more. I’d like to be reading the paper book, but this is nice to have.

Decoloniality is thinking from the other side. But not from a romanticized other side. This book thinks about some of the things I do.

The mestizo is a colonial formation and that is why the mixture with the colonizer is the one that counts–and why you get the mestizo-criollo class. Does this mean that the mestizo, ultimately, cannot be subaltern? That the povo, even if also mixed, is not mestizo? Somebody must have worked this out. Who?

Axé.

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Más y más mestizos

From March 2017:

“…mestizo and mestizaje…are doubly hybrid. On the one hand they house an empirical hybridity, built upon eighteenth and nineteenth century racial taxonomies and according to which ‘mestizos’ are non-indigenous individuals, the result of biological or cultural mixtures. Yet, mestizos’ genealogy starts earlier, when ‘mixture’ denoted transgression of the rule of faith, and its statutes of purity. Within this taxonomic regime mestizos could be, at the same time, indigenous. Apparently dominant, racial theories sustained by scientific knowledge mixed with, (rather than cancel) previous faith based racial taxonomies. ‘Mestizo’ thus houses a conceptual hybridity – the mixture of two classificatory regimes – which reveals subordinate alternatives for mestizo subject positions, including forms of indigeneity.”
—de la Cadena 2005

Y sí, and that is what the talk the other day did not address, and it is key for my piece on Isaacs: there is racial and religious mestizaje that stand in for each other. THIS is a good insight, I do think. (About mestizaje itself, the other way in which the word or concept “means in two accents” is that it is deployed in both oppressive and utopian or liberating ways.)

Also: Kraniauskas, hybridity and traces of capital, and that article on comparative hybridities.

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More mestizos and more Cecilia

The inner life of mestizo nationalism is another book to get, probably key. Joshua Lund’s later book is in dialogue with it, too. And look at page 80 of Lund: I’m right, it is a question of articulating nation and state. And: Asturias uses the stylized indígenas to come up with a more inclusive nation, but Castellanos stages that same culture to problematize that politics of inclusion / the mestizo state.

I was rereading Joanna O’Connell’s now old book on Rosario Castellanos and noted the reference to women characters like Dido (in the Aeneid, but also in Castellanos), Judith and Salomé who are threats to the foundation of nation. Daughters’ sexuality is an issue of racial and national loyalties. How does Cecilia fit into this?

I can see a next paper, on Mercier (St. Ybars), Cecilia and Emily Clark, centering on the placée. How Yankee travel writing + [what was the story that came from Haiti?] generates the terms in which Cuba and Louisiana see themselves. These mulatas are transgressive according to Glissant [recheck, it’s in Poétique de la relation] because they upset categories, but is this also something about preventing the foundation of nation?

What about Sab?

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Cecilia again

Glissant in Poétique de la relation talks about the mestizo as the one who confounds categories, disturbs whiteness. That’s not how they’re constructed in Spanish America, they’re a nation-building category. But it does seem to be how Cecilia works in Cecilia Valdés. Is this further evidence of that novel being written in the United States and furthermore, under a French-Caribbean influence? Did Villaverde read Mercier, L’Habitation Saint-Ybars, or were these two novels co-generated in some way?

The things of the Atlantic keep reappearing, like the repeating island; I’ve called them cane cultures. There is so much to think about.

Axé.

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Discerning darkness

Inspired by a Nation article on Toni Morrison: white literature is sprinkled with racial eruptions, that we are not supposed to see. But they are there to remind us that we are not the ones who will suffer from capitalism / colonialism / slavery. As noted, we are trained not to see them, but if we don’t look away, they are very revealing.

Should this be a title of or in my book? That discerning eye refers to the eye of the criollo who must notice the presence of the racial other so as to ward it off, keep it in its place, before it infiltrates and establishes equality. So you want to see them coming, but then look away from what their presence really means. It seems that in white literature the goal is not to see in the first place, but those others are so much closer in Latin America, or so much harder to distinguish from oneself, that one must actually look and watch out, and take preventive measures against power, but not tell anyone you have done this, so that it can appear you did not see / did not need to see. I have to work this out, but it is very interesting.

In news of Reeducation, I have this strange sensation that the spell has lifted. It is amazing–magical.

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Rubén Medina

I have to read that old Robert Young book, Colonial Desire. I never did.

Meanwhile, Rubén Medina is a smart person I met randomly at one MLA early on, and who has been smart since. I need to find an old article of his, “Gloria Anzaldúa: The Politicsand Poetics of Mestizaje”, in Crítica: A Journal of Critical Essays (Primavera,1998): 73–85. This is from his 2008 piece.

Gloria Anzaldúa and mestizaje as self-fashioning

+ People think of hybridity as transgressive, but it isn’t always, as Gruzinski has pointed out (in the first half of the piece Medina talked in detail about the colonial history of mestizaje and about Vasconcelos).

+ Pnina Werbner notes the lack of a “process-based” theory of hybridity in critics like Hall, Bhabha and Gilroy. These critics only recognize that heteroglossia opposes monologism. There are a number of questions to be asked here.

+ on 119, Medina agrees with me: the mixing Anzaldúa, and others emphasize is between a subaltern and hegemonic, not among subalterns. An example in the U.S. is that many Chicanos “mix” with people of other races; Anzaldúa is working on the Mexican, the idealized indigenous, and the Anglo.

+ A. uses the mestizaje model in one way, to promote post-structuralist, constantly reforming, interculturality, and then in an aspirational, individualist way, to self-fashion, to imagine another way of being/world. Medina asks: how do you get from here to there?

+ For instance: can you disentangle elements of a culture to form one of your own?  How do you get from the material/historical circumstances of nation to utopia (as a scene of desire) to design a culture of your own, outside discourse and daily life? How will the subalterns do this and can they really tolerate contradictions, in the way the author would like?

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La imaginación histórica y el romance nacional en Hispanoamérica

I will use Interlibrary loan and get this book. I don’t want to spend almost $40 to buy it used. The nearest copy is in Texas, 208 miles away. But it should be in all libraries, including at least two in this state. I will do it tomorrow.

I don’t like interlibrary loan because first you wait, then you quickly xerox because the three days you have the book won’t be the three in which you can read it. I wish I had a PDF of it.

Maybe there are articles that became chapters of this book, and I can read those. There are also later articles.

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