Double Hybridization and Bordercanx Literary Works: How the United States Turned Mexican Americans Into the Forgotten People




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“Double colonization,” as a concept, was first introduced in the 1980s, to demonstrate how women of formerly colonized and once indigenous societies were colonized twice—through both patriarchal ideology and imperial ideology. Not long after this term and concept emanated, Homi Bhabha reestablished the term “hybridity” as a theoretical advancement in The Location of Culture (Bhabha 285). Through the existence of the colonizer and colonized, “hybridization” is the doubling of these cultures as they intricately relate place and identity with time and societal conditions. As Terry Goldie explains, the coming together of these cultures is neither essential by nature nor an inevitable willingness; rather, it is the “putative superiority of the European and the supposed inferiority of the native” (Goldie 61). Furthermore, the duality that these cultures represent is not by any means Manichean in nature. The duplication of “hybridity” cannot be singular as it pertains to one country over the other, and it cannot be binary, because as James Clifford asserts, the two cultures here are in motion and constant flux (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 164). Therefore, each location and culture is unique, and according to Diana Brydon, the result of this merging produces altogether unique variables (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 187). Establishing this cultural history in historiography is not a linear or sequential process. Anthropologist Lee Berger likens human evolution to a “braided stream,” similar to Clifford’s assertion that “there is no natural shape to configuration” (Berger 2019) (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin x). Some indigenous populations have remained in one location, while the environment around them changed by—“urbanization, habitation, reindigenization, sinking roots, moving on, invading, and holding on” (Clifford 182-83). Through a thorough examination of double hybridization on the effects of the Mexican American population situated on the U.S.-Mexico Border, what becomes evident is that the segment of the population that remained through the second disruption when northern Mexico became part of the United States was intentionally targeted by the U.S. government and omitted from the national and cultural identity. Double hybridization reveals both agency and colonial oppression over time and has not been given critical attention as the defining difference between United States Latinx literary works, specifically between “Bordercanx” literary works and Latin American and American literary works. Bordercanx literary works have specifically emerged from this in-between cultural space and its people situated between Mexico and the United States. U.S.-Mexico Border people living on the U.S. side of the Borderline have used the term “Bordercanx” as a counter concept to the term “fronterizo/a” that those living on the Mexican side have used. Although the term is not normally applied to Border writing, Bordercanx is used here to describe a population and their artistic works specifically derived from this geocultural, geopolitical, and geographical location. The referents of the term express the centrality and cultural displacement of the double hybridized people who remained in the same location. The scholarly portion of the dissertation consists of four chapters, which explore how the overall process of double hybridization turned Mexican Americans into “the forgotten people,” as seen in Bordercanx literature. Chapter 1 defines the U.S.-Mexico Border through a perimeter and regional approach to specify the space and properly assess the anthropological and ethnographical understanding of that space and provide a deeper understanding of it within a world context. Chapter 2 examines perimeter, space, and location related to the theory of double hybridization that can only be seen in the American Southwest Border region. Chapter 3 takes a contemporary look at the Latinx and Hispanic people as an integral constituent of the population in the United States that is intrinsically woven into the tapestry of the national identity by retracing the geopolitical history and cultural history of each group, showing the commonalities and differences between them. Finally, Chapter 4 demonstrates how double hybridization is the defining element that separates U.S. Latinx—specifically Bordercanx literary works—from Latin American and American literature, with a distinct focus on “body theory” as it pertains to enslavement and labor, detainment and repatriation, location and positioning, and Americanization through language suppression and racialization that transpired over two distinct periods of disruption, resulting in the formation of “los olvidados,” “the forgotten people,” along the U.S.-Mexico Border. The combination of all four chapters reveals a history and circumstances that have shaped a distinct population with the Latinx community and American identity over time. The fifth and final chapter applies the concept of double hybridization to a compilation and layering process of creative work resulting in a children’s book through a selfdirected form of ethnomethodology called autoethnography, further situating this multigenerational work within the framework of Bordercanx literature.



Literature, American, History, United States