Hierarchy and Hybridity: The Silent Role of Colonialism in Shaping the American Racial Order


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In this essay I argue that in some of the key documents, policies and governing practices of mid-19th century American expansionism we can see the compatible workings of hierarchy and hybridity in the relationship between race and nation in U.S. politics and history. Hierarchy and hybridity are the twinned components that I introduce to better account for the complexity of the interplay between racial inequality and American nation-building in the decades immediately following the US-Mexico War, which ended in 1848. To develop this argument, I begin by explaining what I mean by hierarchy and hybridity, how I put together, and in what way they can offer a precise analysis of the colonialist dynamics shaping persistent group inequality in a liberal democratic setting such as the United States. For the purposes of this paper, the main focus in mind, I see in a few of the Treaty's key clauses, as well as in subsequent legislation such as California Land Act of 1852, the internal post colonial process by which Mexican citizens were drawn into the American polity on hierarchical and hybridic terms, requiring both their subjugation in the politics, culture and economy of the United States and the creation of a new ethnic identity for them that would assume a liminial place within the nation's racial order.


English Language and Literature | Other Languages, Societies, and Cultures | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

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