Date of Degree

5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Anthropology

Advisor

Marc Edelman

Committee Members

Leith Mullings

Jacqueline Nassy Brown

Jeff Maskovsky

Claudio Lomnitz

Subject Categories

African American Studies | Indigenous Studies | Latin American History | Latina/o Studies | Oral History | Social and Cultural Anthropology | United States History

Keywords

Racialization, Mexico-U.S. border, Blackness, Indianness, legibility, historicity, settler colonialism, Negros Mascogos, Black Seminoles

Abstract

This historical ethnography analyzes the making of the Negro Mascogo/Black Seminole people as part of the production of the Coahuila-Texas borderland. In the quest to become legible to improve their living conditions and maintain a sense of dignity, Negros Mascogos/Black Seminoles use history and racialization as tools of negotiation between themselves and the two nation-states where they live: Mexico and the United States. I analyze the Negro Mascogo/Black Seminole people as a case of racialization that illustrates the ongoing mechanisms of settler colonialism (dispossession, exploitation, and elimination via genocide or assimilation), as they play out in specific socio-historical contexts.

The main argument in this work is that Negros Mascogos/Black Seminoles have been in a double bind since the nineteenth century. Numerous external forces have put them in the position to choose between Blackness and Indianness, doing violence to the ways they understand themselves. However, this apparent paradox does not completely negate the possibility of Black-Indianness. Negros Mascogos/Black Seminoles have understood the double bind and have made their racialization more flexible to claim Blackness in relation to some socio-historical processes, and Indianness in relation to others.

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