Borderlands / La Familia

Pablo Mitchell

in On the Borders of Love and Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780520272385
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780520951341 | DOI:
Borderlands / La Familia

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This chapter examines a set of criminal appeals cases involving ethnic Mexicans in order to explore contestations over domestic relations in the early twentieth-century Southwest. The author finds that Anglo trial participants frequently denigrated Mexican families in the courtroom, thereby reinforcing an integral feature of Anglo-American colonialism that had persisted in the Southwest since the mid-nineteenth century. Ethnic Mexican trial participants, who considered themselves fully entitled to rights within the American judicial system, challenged such critiques and defended their families' respectability in the face of Anglo attacks. The author argues, however, that such counterhegemonic claims of family decency were grounded in a form of heteropatriarchy that privileged female inferiority and subservience, marital reproduction, and fraternal order.

Keywords: Mexicans; colonialism; Southwest; family; heteropatriarchy

Chapter.  10959 words. 

Subjects: Local and Family History

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