Competing Land Claims and Racial Hierarchies in the Works of Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Alexander Posey, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Charles Lummis
AdvisorCooper Alarcon, Daniel
Committee ChairCooper Alarcon, Daniel
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis project explicates the ways in which writers from different cultural groups (Anglo American, American Indian, and Mexican American) used literature to defend the land claims of increasingly marginalized peoples within the United States around the turn of the twentieth century. Each of the writers I discuss (Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Alexander Posey, Charles Lummis, and Helen Hunt Jackson) constructs and manipulates racial hierarchies in order to assert the comparative virtues of the cultural group for whom they advocate. I explore each writer's perceptions of proper land use and legitimate land claims and how these perceptions are informed by disparate cultural inheritances. By looking at authors from different backgrounds, writing from different regions in the United States, I am able to establish the frequency with which racialist assumptions guided popular opinion and U.S. law around the turn of the twentieth century--specifically in regards to land claims. I situate my reading of literary works within the historical context that made competitions for land particularly fierce during this period.