The Early United States in a Transnational Perspective
Astrid Haas – Mexican Travelers and the “Texas Question,” 1821–1836
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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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