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Hemispheric Encounters

The Early United States in a Transnational Perspective


Edited By Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Markus Heide

In the decades following the American Revolution, literary and cultural discourses, but also American collective and individual identification were shaped by transatlantic relations and inter-American exchanges and conflicts. The way Americans defined themselves as a nation and as individuals was shaped by such historical events and social issues as the Haitian Revolution, the struggles for independence in Spanish America, ties with Caribbean slave economies, and rivalries with other colonial powers in the Americas. Contextualizing transatlantic and inter-American relations within a framework of the Western Hemisphere, the essays collected in this volume discuss inter-American relations in the early United States, and in American, European and Spanish-American writing of the period.
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Astrid Haas – Mexican Travelers and the “Texas Question,” 1821–1836


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Astrid Haas

Mexican Travelers and the “Texas Question,” 1821–18361

Informed by and themselves informing a postcolonial studies perspective, scholars have initiated a transnational turn in the study of the United States since the 1980s. This scholarship has moved away from an exclusive analytic focus on the nation state in favor of a “dynamic transnational and intercultural conceptualization of U.S. culture” and toward a greater awareness of “how the nation is seen from vantage points beyond its borders” (Rowe 3; Fisher Fishkin 20). It has further contributed to a larger body of inter-American studies that critically interrogates the role of the United States in a hemispheric context (Thies and Raab 8–16, 20–21). This approach crucially “foregrounds the analysis of global connections within American cultural texts not just in the present period of globalization but also in earlier historical periods which were never really locked in self-absorption” (Mackenthun, “Conquest” 100). Gesa Mackenthun and Walter Mignolo point out the ambivalent situation of the early United States and Mexico as “both postrevolutionary and colonizing” states (Mackenthun, “Encountering” 12; Mignolo 54, 94, 97). In the two recently independent republics, descendants of the former European colonizers now comprised the new elites of their societies. During the nineteenth century, these new elites engaged in a rhetoric of anti-colonial commitment, but simultaneously maintained hegemonic systems of knowledge, along with the former colonizer’s political, economic, and cultural practices. The unequal social power relations arising from these structures privileged European-descendant...

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