“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).