2013 Theses Doctoral
Invention And Contention: Identity, Place, And Memory Of The Spanish Past In The American Southwest, 1848-1940
As the twentieth century unfolded, American writers, critics, and boosters presented a narrative of the arid Southwest as an exotic place blessed with a romantic history that could inspire, captivate and renew the many new white citizens flocking to rapidly growing cities. The history of Spanish colonialism in the area became a precious and exclusive cultural and economic resource. This dissertation tells the story of the commemoration of the Spanish past from 1848 to 1940 in three Spanish towns that grew into prominent American cities: Tucson, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and San Antonio, Texas. In chapters centered on space, historic preservation, Mexican folk ritual, and pageants, this work examines the stories told about the Spanish past in these cities and reveals how people of differing classes and ethnicities gave meaning to the places they lived and to the process of American annexation of the region. That meaning shaped individual and social identities as well as the flow of power between them.
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