Powner, Leslie (2012) La Frontera: contesting the cultural construction of the US-Mexico border. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the interconnectedness between the history and cultural memory of the United States-Mexico border with a focus on the period 1821 – 1854. In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain; in 1836 it lost its northern province of Texas and in 1848 it acceded half of its existing territory to the United States. The study will explore the connections between this historical narrative and the cultural memory using three cases: Texas, California, and Arizona. The study provides an overview of the historical narrative demonstrating how such narratives are constructed. A model of Hispanicism based on Edward Said’s Orientalism will also be used to provide an understanding of how the cultural constructs and cultural memory reveal an hegemonic framework to the process. The thesis also sets this particular study within the context of limology, the interdisciplinary study of borders and borderlands. It will focus particularly upon Emanuel Brunt-Jailly’s 4 lens model of borders in order to provide a framework for the study. A range of cultural artefacts will be analysed in each case study to demonstrate how cultural memory structures the historical narrative. The main cultural focus for the Texas case study will be that of the Alamo cenotaph and Alamo films. The California case study will explore the cultural construct of the California Pastoral, a romanticised memory of the state’s Hispanic past. The artefacts examined include public festivals that celebrate California’s Hispanic past, the California novels of Gertrude Atherton and the myth of Joaquín Murrieta. The Arizona case study explores the concept of cultural amnesia though an examination of the process by which the Hispanic past is excluded from cultural memory. Finally the project seeks to apply the result in an exploration of the contemporary political framework.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: E History America > E11 America (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2017 15:32
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2017 15:32
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3256

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