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Abajo Los Chinos:” Race and the Public Sphere in Revolutionary Mexico

Jason Chang
His­tory and Asian Amer­i­can Stud­ies
Uni­ver­sity of Connecticut

Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 19, 2014
4:00 pm
Com­mu­ni­ca­tions 120

Abajo Los Chi­nos”: Race and the Pub­lic Sphere in Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Mexico

When the Mex­i­can repub­lic erupted in rev­o­lu­tion in 1910, its com­pet­ing lead­ers often used the lan­guage of mes­tizo nation­al­ism to rally sup­port­ers. Ref­er­ences to a pop­ulist mes­tizo nation­al­ism ges­tured towards the emer­gence of the demo­c­ra­tic prin­ci­ples of a pub­lic sphere. His­to­ri­ans have attrib­uted the suc­cess of rev­o­lu­tion­ary Mex­i­can nation­al­ism to state ide­olo­gies of mes­ti­zaje and pop­ulist agrar­ian reforms. How­ever, the his­tory of Mexico’s anti-Chinese pol­i­tics reveals that racism has played an unap­pre­ci­ated role in the cre­ation of a pub­lic sphere in which the com­mon good of mes­ti­zos became think­able. In this lec­ture, Jason­Chang details the ways that racial vio­lence, anti-Chinese orga­ni­za­tions, and racist poli­cies con­tributed to the expan­sion of mes­tizo nation­al­ism. This revi­sion­ist his­tory high­lights the ways that race was an essen­tial tech­nol­ogy of state for­ma­tion that under­girded the trans­for­ma­tion of rule and con­sent after the revolution.

Com­bin­ing Asian Amer­i­can Stud­ies and Latin Amer­i­can Stud­ies, Jason Chang’s research focuses on the his­tory of Asian dias­po­ras in the Amer­i­cas and the dif­fer­ent sys­tems of race and gen­der they encounter and become a part of. These his­to­ries of migra­tion, set­tle­ment and racial­iza­tion are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of his inter­ests in the broader geo-historical for­ma­tions that have linked Asia and the Amer­i­cas since the six­teenth century.

Pre­sented as part of B/ordering Vio­lence: Bound­aries, Gen­der, Indi­gene­ity in the Amer­i­cas, a John E. Sawyer Sem­i­nar in Com­par­a­tive Cul­tures gen­er­ously funded by the Andrew W. Mel­lon Foun­da­tion and co-sponsored by the Latin Amer­i­can & Caribbean Stud­ies pro­gram, the Cen­ter for the Study of the Pacific North­west, the Henry M. Jack­son School of Inter­na­tional Stud­ies, the Simp­son Cen­ter for the Human­i­ties, and the Insti­tute for the Study of Eth­nic­ity, Race, & Sex­u­al­ity (WISER).

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