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Undoing Empire: Race and Nation in the Mulatto Caribbean

José F. Buscaglia-Salgado
Copyright Date: 2003
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 366
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  • Book Info
    Undoing Empire
    Book Description:

    Undoing Empire brings to light the story of what José F. Buscaglia-Salgado terms mulataje—the ways Caribbean aesthetics offer the possibility of the ultimate erasure of racial difference. Undoing Empire gives a broad panorama stretching from the complex politics of medieval Iberian societies to the beginning of direct U.S. hegemony in the Caribbean at the end of the nineteenth century._x000B_

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9155-5
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xi-xxvi)

    On 30 January 1891, the Mexican newspaperEl Partido Liberalpublished an article under the title “Nuestra América” (Our America), written by José Martí, who was then living in exile in New York City. The Cuban essayist, poet, and political activist made an eloquent appeal for a radical new approach to the problems of what we today call Latin America, emphasizing the need to develop creative and critical solutions born of a direct and comprehensive understanding of the societies in question. “Neither the European book nor the Yankee book gave the key to the enigma of Spanish America,”¹ he wrote,...

  5. CHAPTER ONE Tales of the Alhambra: Washington Irving and the Immaculate Conception of America
    (pp. 1-46)

    In 1481 the King of Granada, Abû-l-Hasan ’Alî,¹ broke the uneasy truce with the Kingdom of Castile by launching a surprise attack on the mountain village of Zahara. Perched atop a jagged rock and defended by a castle, this small frontier outpost was said to be inexpugnable, a condition that according to tradition had also shaped the character of its people. The ruins of the castle stand today above the town of Zahara de la Sierra in the province of Cádiz, halfway between Málaga and Seville. The reputation of the place and of its ancient inhabitants remains intact in the...

  6. CHAPTER TWO Contesting the Ideal: From the Moors of Hispania to the Morenos of Hispaniola
    (pp. 47-91)

    The origins of coloniality during the early Columbian age are marked by the confluence in the Caribbean of three related processes of terror: the spillover from the persecution and deportation of the officially inassimilable Moors of Castile and Aragon; the enslavement and genocide of the native populations of the islands; and the enslavement, deportation, and genocide of Africans during the early stages of the transatlantic slave trade and before. These were, of course, the means to the end of a process that was to produce the first empires or “great nations” of modernity. In the Indies, however, the same process...

  7. CHAPTER THREE Bartolomé de Las Casas at the End of Time; or, How the Indies Were Won and Lost
    (pp. 92-127)

    Perhaps no early settler understood the perceived threat ofmulatajebetter than Bartolomé de las Casas, whose truly visionary outlook on the destruction of the Indies emanated not necessarily from his condemnation of the genocide perpetrated against the natives of the land (a condition that was self-evident by the time he sat down to write about it) but from his sense as to the very dangerous direction the societies of the Indies could take if they moved away from Christianity and created a new kind of Granada in the Indies, which this time around would be ruled not by moros...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Creole in His Labyrinth: The Disquieting Order of the Being Unbecoming
    (pp. 128-182)

    The colony of Hispaniola never recovered from the history of destruction and terror that culminated in thedevastaciones. One hundred years after the start of colonization, practically everyone involved in the process had either died or fled the surviving settlements. Both the native and the slave populations were officially extinct, and the people who remained in Santo Domingo were for the most part indigent. It is said that when Governor Osorio’s replacement arrived in the city in 1608, very few of its residents went to greet him because most people could not afford to dress up for the occasion. From...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE Undoing the Ideal: The Life and Passion of the Mulatto
    (pp. 183-244)

    Judging from thecuadros de castasit is evident that by the middle of the eighteenth century the body of the mulatto had become the most prominent site where the tensions and contradictions, the divergences and overlaps of the relationship between master and slave, colonizer and colonized, white and nonwhite, Christian and non-Christian acted upon each other both to give cohesion and to destabilize the foundations of the coloniality of power in Mexican creole society and in the global geography of the flota. We have seen how some of these tensions had begun to build in the pre-1492 world of...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Moors in Heaven: A Second Columbus and the Return of the Zaharenian Curse
    (pp. 245-264)

    Spanish observers were not altogether wrong when they saw in the War of Restoration the signs of a “general conspiracy of the black race in our Antilles.”¹ For a long time Santo Domingo had been a refuge for runaway slaves from Cuba and Puerto Rico.² Now the Dominicans were also being supported by blacks and mulattoes of other islands, most notably Jamaica and the Turks Islands. However, the waning influence of the creole element in the first major revolution of the Hispanic Caribbean did not give way to the “Black nation” feared by Saco. Instead what seemed to emerge was...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 265-322)
  12. Index
    (pp. 323-340)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 341-341)