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Forging People

Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in Hispanic American and Latino/a Thought

edited by Jorge J. E. Gracia

Publication Year: 2011

Forging People explores the way in which Hispanic American thinkers in Latin America and Latino/a philosophers in the United States have posed and thought about questions of race, ethnicity, and nationality, and how they have interpreted the most significant racial and ethnic labels used in Hispanic America in connection with issues of rights, nationalism, power, and identity. Following the first introductory chapter, each of the essays addresses one or more influential thinkers, ranging from Bartolomé de Las Casas on race and the rights of Amerindians; to Simon Bolívar's struggle with questions of how to forge a nation from disparate populations; to modern and contemporary thinkers on issues of race, unity, assimilation, and diversity. Each essay carefully and clearly presents the views of key authors in their historical and philosophical context and provides brief biographical sketches and reading lists, as aids to students and other readers.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press


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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-xi

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pp. xiii-xix

The discussion of race in the United States reflects to a great extent the situation in the country. The adoption of the one-drop rule, according to which anyone who has a drop of black blood is considered black, has too often been taken for granted, resulting in a polarization that characterizes...

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1. Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality in Hispanic American and Latino/a Thought

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pp. 1-28

Race, ethnicity, and nationality pose many and complex problems. Some of these are practical and others conceptual, but each kind tends to lead into the other. Most of these problems are evident in Latin America, and they have been addressed by a good number of Hispanic American and Latino/a philosophers...

Part I. The Colony and Scholasticism

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pp. 29

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2. The New Black Legend of Bartolomé de Las Casas: Race and Personhood

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pp. 31-54

One of the earliest questions to arise among Spaniards from their initial encounters with the indigenous peoples of the New World was whether they were to regard and treat them as fully human. Many parties had a significant stake in the answer. If the indigenous were not fully human, they...

Part II. Independence and the Enlightenment

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pp. 55

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3. Men or Citizens? The Making of Bolívar’s Patria

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pp. 57-84

Simón Bolívar is unusual among nineteenth-century Spanish American caudillos for a number of reasons, but one of them is that he approached the task of nation building after independence in a way that sharply contrasts with the strategies followed by others, such as the Mexican patriotas criollos...

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4. Andrés Bello: Race and National Political Culture

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pp. 85-98

Little did Andrés Bello know, on the occasion of his inaugural speech at the newly founded University of Chile in September 1843, that his remarks on history—and specifically on the views of the German thinker Johann Gottfried Herder—would eventually force him to address a subject he had preferred...

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5. Undoing “Race”: Martí’s Historical Predicament

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pp. 99-123

José Martí’s explicit position on race, as succinctly stated in his short article, “‘My Race,’” has been the subject of much recent controversy. The article was originally published in Patria in 1893, in the context of sketching a political course for the revolutionary changes that would free Cuba from Spanish...

Part III. New Nations and Positivism

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pp. 125

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6. Sarmiento on Barbarism, Race, and Nation Building

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pp. 127-151

Three centuries and an entire continent separate Domingo Faustino Sarmiento’s work and thought from that of Bartolomé de Las Casas, but an examination of their views on the indigenous peoples of the Americas opens an interesting window on the evolution of thinking about race in Latin America...

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7. Justo Sierra and the Forging of a Mexican Nation

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pp. 152-178

How do you forge a people? Forges conjure the image of raw ore mixed in hot cauldrons where it melts and loses its identity, is poured into a mold, and becomes a new alloy: Out of the old, something new. Forging a people is all about changing identities, about losing an old and creating a new one...

Part IV. Challenges in the Twentieth Century

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pp. 179

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8. Rodó, Race, and Morality

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pp. 181-202

What constitutes an authentic Latin American identity, particularly in the face of European and North American values and their overpowering influence? How should such an identity be understood? These are topics that seem inescapable in any history of ideas in Latin America and continue...

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9. Zarathustra Criollo: Vasconcelos on Race

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pp. 203-227

In trying to explain why Brazilians should be thought of as part of the “Latin” world, Vasconcelos tells of a vignette that he thinks some may find superficial but which for him carries much substance. The story is found in his short essay “El problema del Brasil” (The Brazil Problem). He tells us of...

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10. The Amauta’s Ambivalence: Mariátegui on Race

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pp. 228-248

The “problem of the Indian” is not, for Mariátegui, merely one social problem among many others afflicting Peru. To the contrary, he regards it as, in his words, “the fundamental problem,” or “the primary problem,” or “a paramount issue.”1 In short, the problem of the Indian was...

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11. Mestizaje, mexicanidad, and Assimilation: Zea on Race, Ethnicity, and Nationality

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pp. 249-268

The Mexican philosopher Leopoldo Zea (1912–2004) wrote about all three of the topics dealt with in this volume, but he ultimately privileged nationality over race and ethnicity. My aim in this chapter is to demonstrate why Zea believes that nationality is the primordial category in forging a people...

Part V. Latinos/as in the United States

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pp. 269

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12. Latino/a Identity and the Search for Unity: Alcoff, Corlett, and Gracia

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pp. 271-302

Recently within the Anglophone philosophical world, the topics of race, ethnicity, and nationality, topics that in the wrong hands have been used to justify oppression and bloodshed, have been used instead to serve the ends of social justice and to enlarge the borders of philosophy itself...


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pp. 303-327


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pp. 328-349

E-ISBN-13: 9780268080662
E-ISBN-10: 0268080666
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268029821
Print-ISBN-10: 0268029822

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: NA
Publication Year: 2011

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Ethnicity -- Latin America -- Philosophy -- History.
  • Latin America -- Race relations -- Philosophy -- History.
  • Citizenship -- Latin America -- Philosophy -- History.
  • Nationalism -- Latin America -- Philosophy -- History.
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