The fact that something is a social construct does not mean it is not real, or that it doesn’t have real effects. And just because a way of seeing or classifying the world can be deconstructed (or be shown to deconstruct), this does not mean we can simply wish it away.
Rights have to be first agreed upon and then interpreted before they can be actualized. No rights are ever “self-evident.” They are at best the site of what is often intense disagreement and rhetorical energy. Or they are the indices of a struggle that takes place elsewhere.
Rights have to be first agreed upon and then interpreted before they can be actualized. They are at best the site of what is often intense disagreement and rhetorical energy. Or they are the indices of a struggle that takes place elsewhere.
- Alexander Dawson, “Citizenship and Rights in the New Republics” Latin America Since Independence: A History with Primary Sources. 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge, 2014. 73-112.
Note that each chapter of the textbook comes with online resources on the publisher's website. Simply click on the relevant tab for this week's reading.
- Raimundo (Raymundo) Nina Rodrigues, The Fetishist Animism of the Bahian Blacks (O animismo fetichista dos negros bahianos) (1896-1900), excerpt. (Dawson 91-94)
- Political Program of the Partido Independiente de Color (1908) (Dawson 94-95; Spanish original)
- Manifiesto, "Santa Rita de Casia," y "San Lázaro," Sociedad de Protección Mutua, Canto y Baile (1915) (Dawson 95-97)
- María Eugenia Echenique, "Brushstrokes" (1876) (Dawson 97-99)
- Judith [Josefina Pelliza de Sagasta], "Women: Dedicated to Miss María Eugenia Echenique" (1876) (Dawson 99-101)
Leobardo Elizando, Aaliya Kochra, Tamara Malhas, and Roy Saito:
Anna Lake-Soros and David Waine on rights from the Aztecs to the present:
Jack Willis and Megan McEvoy:
Jane Park, Sara Pastro, María Saldana, and Daniela Toro:
Alec Dawson (Professor, History and International Studies, Simon Fraser University), author of Latin America Since Independence: A History with Primary Sources, considers the links between emergent forms of scientific racism and citizenship in nineteenth-century Latin American societies.
This podcast complements chapter three of his textbook.
- Miguel Barnet, Biography of a Runaway Slave. Trans. W. Nick Hill. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone, 1994.
- Maria Eugenia Echenique, Josefina Pelliza de Sagasta, "The Emancipation of Women: Argentina 1876" Journal of Women's History 7.3 (Fall 1995): 102-126.
- What is citizenship? How is it awarded or achieved?
- What rights come with citizenship? How are new rights created or fought for?
- How and when might different rights come into conflict with each other?
- How did the condition and experience of racialized communities (indigenous people, Blacks, others) change over time in the Americas? What caused these changes?
- Martin Luther King once famously said (paraphrasing nineteenth-century abolitionist Theodore Parker) that "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." What does this mean? Do you agree?
- What is (or was) "scientific racism"? What does the excerpt from Raimundo Nina /Rodriguez tell us about the relationship between racism, science, and culture?
- What are the demands of the "Partido Independiente de Color"? What kinds of rights do they seek?
- Why might some, even from among less-dominant groups, such as Josefina Pelliza de Sagasta, seem to resist the discourse of rights?