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The Present Past : : Recovering Native American, Mexican- American, and Anglo Narratives of Territorial Arizona 1848 -1912

  • Author(s): Huizar-Hernández, Anita E.
  • et al.

In this dissertation, I recover and examine Native American, Mexican-American, and Anglo narratives about Arizona's earliest days, its territorial period, in order to confront and challenge the state's controversial contemporary immigration and education reform. I examine these erased or ignored histories from the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century in order to expose the long historical roots of Arizona's current discriminatory policies and undermine the exclusionary logic that upholds them. Contrary to the rhetoric bolstering both Senate Bill 1070 and House Bill 2281, each of the microhistories I study here looks back to the territorial period, when Arizona experienced intense transformation with respect to its economy, infrastructure, and population, and recovers the fundamental contributions Native Americans, Mexican- Americans, and Anglos made to the establishment of the state. Though I focus my study on Arizona, the conclusions I draw about the consequences of historical forgetting as well as the impact of creating, maintaining, and disseminating counter-narratives have significant ramifications beyond the state's borders. Thanks to its recent legislation, Arizona has become the epicenter of national debates about immigration, knowledge production, and cultural belonging. Though some have painted the state as exceptional, I argue that the widespread popularity of its policies demonstrates that Arizona is not exceptional but rather a bellwether for national trends, registering broader anxieties about the malleable physical and cultural borders of the United States. Because of the central role it now plays in the national imagination, in this dissertation I use Arizona as a flashpoint from which to examine the conditions and consequences of U.S. expansion, not only in the late-nineteenth and early- twentieth centuries, but also today

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