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dc.contributor.authorCisneros, Josue David
dc.description.abstractOver the last two decades, pundits and politicians have discussed with growing urgency the changes that “Hispanics” and “Latina/os” are bringing to the United States. This project problematizes these debates by showing that Latina/os have played an active role in (re)making the contours of U.S. identity throughout history. My argument is twofold: that the position of Latina/os’ in the U.S. has been structured by a fundamental tension of citizenship between inclusion (i.e., assimilation) and exclusion (i.e., difference), and that Latina/os have struggled with these tensions by crafting their own discourses of U.S. citizenship. I develop these arguments through analysis of three historical moments in which Latina/os negotiated U.S. citizenship. In the first case study, I examine the California Constitutional Convention of 1849, an instance in which early “Latina/os,” or native Mexican Californios, negotiated their newly granted U.S. citizenship after the Mexican-American War. At the Constitutional Convention, I argue, Californios enacted a compromise citizenship by striking a balance between their own traditions and the pressures of assimilation they faced as new U.S. citizens. In the second case study, I consider a Latina/o struggle with U.S. citizenship from the 1960s. The Mexican-American activist Reies López Tijerina and his organization the Alianza Fedéral de Mercedes fought for rights and land grants in New Mexico and the Southwest. I show that Tijerina constructed a border citizenship that migrated between citizen and foreigner, between inclusion and exclusion. Finally, I examine a modern movement for Latina/o citizenship—La Gran Marcha of March 25, 2006, in which half a million Latina/os and immigrants protested federal immigration policy—to show how contemporary struggles for U.S. national belonging differ. Flouting pressures of inclusion and exclusion, La Gran Marcha fused multiple forms of discourse and transnational political traditions to craft a hybrid U.S. citizenship. In the conclusion, I draw together these three case studies to discuss the common elements of Latina/o citizenship and Latina/o identity in the United States. I find that studying Latina/o citizenship speaks to the ever-changing role of Latina/os in the U.S. and to the problematics of U.S. citizenship more generally.
dc.subjectCalifornia Constitutional Convention
dc.subjectReies Tijerina
dc.subjectLa Gran Marcha
dc.titleWe are Americanos
dc.title.alternativerace, rhetoric, and resistance in Latina/o struggles for U.S. citizenship
dc.description.departmentSpeech Communication
dc.description.majorSpeech Communication
dc.description.advisorEdward M. Panetta
dc.description.advisorVanessa B. Beasley
dc.description.committeeEdward M. Panetta
dc.description.committeeVanessa B. Beasley
dc.description.committeePamela Voekel
dc.description.committeeThomas Lessl
dc.description.committeeCeleste M. Condit

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