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notes   introduction 1. This experience is not mine alone. Linenthal (1988:526) describes how severalChicanoeducatorswhomheinterviewedinSanAntonioconcerningtheAlamo reported, “[W]e learned in third or fourth grade that we killed the Alamo heroes.” 2. My use of the terms “Texans,” “Anglos,” “Mexicans,” and “Mexican Americans ” follows the well-known meanings associated with these names in the Southwest . Historically, the Battle of the Alamo was fought between “Texans” and “Mexicans ,” but this refers to national identities, not cultural or ethnic ones. The often-overlooked feature of this is that there were a number of Mexicans fighting alongside the Texans, who themselves were a varied lot, including Europeans (for moreonthispoint,seechap.2).Theterm“Anglo,”especiallywhencontrastedwith “Mexican” or “Mexican American,” is used to refer to a non-Mexican, as is customary in this part of the world. “Mexican” and “Mexican American” are often interchanged , since in many cases, especially historical ones, identity and citizenship were not overlapping features. Thus one could be an American citizen but consider oneselfMexican.SeeMontejano1987forthehistoricaldevelopmentoftheseterms. chapter one 1. My discussion of modernity is influenced by a number of theorists on the subject, including but not limited to Berman (1982), Habermas (1979), Jameson (1992a), and Harvey (1990). 2. The notion of a “complex structure” emanates from Althusser as he attempts to rethink his way through the all too often deterministic notions of the relationship between a material base and a cultural or ideological superstructure. This Althusserian totality posits a multiply inflected structure constituted from relatively autonomous and at times contradictory unities (Althusser and Balibar 1970). Crucial for Althusserianism is the complex but quite necessary relationship between ideology, or a system of signs, and the “Real” as a thing-in-itself. It is this 163 08-T2008-END 2/25/02 11:45 AM Page 163 conjuncture of the historical production of signs and its at times contradictory relationship to the Real that I want to develop through the notion of a material semiology . Refusing historicism but not the role of history, economism but not modes of production, symbolism but not a system of signs, a material semiology underscores that the work of meaning making is both expressive and constitutive of social life. As a conjuncture, the relationship between material life and signification admits a complex, historically specific structure of relationship. See also Hall 1980. 3. See Limón 1998 for an important discussion of this relationship that extends beyond economic formations and into literary production itself. 4. I am aided in this analysis by Jameson’s discussion of modes of production. In his attempt to untangle various historicisms from Marxism, Jameson (1979:68) discusses how “advanced” modes of production must include previous modes, “which it has had to suppress”; and, at the same time, in which future modes can be detected through the “various local forms of class struggle.” By incorporating this notion, both during the moment of the peace structure and in 1900, the various contradictions and tensions of this aptly described cultural revolution come into focus. 5. One of the strategies of state violence is to reproduce its competition as “primitive” and “other” so as to feign a kind of frontier imagery of savagery that rationalizes violence. 6. Althusser’s (1971:162) more detailed formulation of ideology as both representation and an imaginary relationship to one’s social condition is instructive here once again. As representation, Althusser’s notion of ideology is accessible only through signifying practice: the production of narrative, art, icons, fetishes, and other expressive forms. Through these forms, signs “underwrite” our stories about the real (Saldívar 1990:211). The signifying forms of ideology emerge as the products of particular conditions of history. As Althusser further reminds us, these forms provide imaginary relationships to the Real because the Real, as a thing-initself , is unrepresentable. These imaginary signs serve as “a way of grappling with a Real that must always transcend it” (Saldívar 1990:212) but by necessity must always signify one’s lived relationship to it. 7. Analytically, the rethinking and regrounding of both symbol making and symbolic thought in history is what I refer to as a historical materialist semiology. These pages, then, suggest two important foci of symbolic analysis: first, the need to rethink symbolic production through its historical content; and second, the need to reground analysis of symbolic productions through the conditions of their own making. chapter two 1. This summary of the film produced and projected at the Alamo is based on multiple viewings. All quotes are taken...


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