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Aztln and Arcadia

Aztln and Arcadia: Religion, Ethnicity, and the Creation of Place

Roberto Ramón Lint Sagarena
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Aztln and Arcadia
    Book Description:

    In the wake of the Mexican-American War, competing narratives of religious conquest and re-conquest were employed by Anglo American and ethnic Mexican Californians to make sense of their place in North America. These invented traditions had a profound impact on North American religious and ethnic relations, serving to bring elements of Catholic history within the Protestant fold of the United States national history as well as playing an integral role in the emergence of the early Chicano/a movement.Many Protestant Anglo Americans understood their settlement in the far Southwest as following in the footsteps of the colonial project begun by Catholic Spanish missionaries. In contrast,CaliforniosMexican-Americans and Chicana/osstressed deep connections to a pre-Columbian past over to their own Spanish heritage. Thus, as Anglo Americans fashioned themselves as the spiritual heirs to the Spanish frontier, many ethnic Mexicans came to see themselves as the spiritual heirs to a southwestern Aztec homeland.

    eISBN: 978-1-4798-5490-5
    Subjects: Sociology, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. [Map]
    (pp. xii-xii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    Southern California’s regional style manifests itself most uncannily in the many Mission Revival border patrol checkpoints that dot the local freeways; they sport red-tiled roofs and plaster walls that recall the romantic glory of California’s Latin American past while standing as militarized guardposts of the state’s present-day border with Mexico. This cognitive dissonance is implicitly, though less ominously, re-created in the ubiquitous presence of Mission and Spanish Revival architecture in everything from mansions and movie studios to bungalows and fastfood franchises. As Americans lay claim to California in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there was considerable synergy between the...

  6. 1 Conquest and Legacy
    (pp. 13-50)

    The Mexican-American War (1846–48), through which the United States acquired roughly a third of its national territory, was a war of conquest, and wars of conquest act as quickening agents on social change. They add urgency to the redefinition of social and geographic identities as both the vanquished and the conqueror confront the task of inventing traditions that re-create order from disrupted conventions. Because new social orders are built on historical narratives that claim continuity with a sustaining past, who is counted as an ancestor in these invented traditions matters a great deal.¹

    After the war, both sides contended...

  7. 2 Building a Region
    (pp. 51-86)

    During the first decades after the Mexican-American War, California, the westernmost state in the American Union, remained isolated as an “Island on the Land.”¹ Hundreds of miles of hostile deserts, mountain ranges, and “Indian Territory” separated it from the other states; the nation’s bifurcated geography set the American East apart from its newly conquered West. The lure of the Gold Rush provided many Americans with a strong incentive to make the long journey to California by sea, or even more arduously by land across the continent, but large-scale American settlement in the state did not begin in earnest until after...

  8. 3 The Spanish Heritage
    (pp. 87-128)

    In April 1894, Los Angeles’s civic leaders organized the first annualFiesta de Los Angeles. The staging of the festival was motivated in large part by the business community’s desire to lure tourists south from San Francisco’s Midwinter International Exposition, which had opened just as the Columbian Exposition in Chicago had closed.¹ In his promotion of the event, Max Meyberg, the president of theFiesta, made use of regionalist tropes by obliquely referencing the purported frugality of California’s Franciscans as well as the legendary wealth and generosity of the old Spanish Dons. He wrote, “We Americans do not appreciate that...

  9. 4 Making Aztlán
    (pp. 129-158)

    In the 1930s, Los Angeles (the American city with the largest Mexican-born population) became a focal point for Mexican repatriation efforts. Roughly 50,000, or about a third, of the city’s Mexican residents returned to Mexico from 1930 to 1939, many forcibly, some voluntarily.¹ Although repatriation campaigns were supported in the United States by racist rhetoric and nativist legislation, in the initial portion of the decade the American Immigration Service was aided by Mexican consular officials in carrying out the campaigns. The Mexican government was eager to facilitate the homecoming of its citizens; the return of those who had left in...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 159-166)

    The purpose of this book has been to bring to light the role of religion in the creation of Arcadian and indigenist historical mythologies in the formation of Southern California following the Mexican-American War. It has illuminated fundamental interconnections in the development of these ways of understanding the region’s past. And at a broader level, the evidence presented has also sought to challenge commonly perceived divides between the peoples and histories of the United States and Mexico.

    The Introduction posed a central question: “What are the ways in which the history of the United States can be made to come...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 167-192)
    (pp. 193-202)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 203-206)
  14. About the Author
    (pp. 207-207)