Nineteenth-Century Travel Writing and the Nuclearization of the American Southwest: A Discourse Analytic Approach to W.W.H. Davis's El Gringo New Mexico and Her People

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/145450
Title:
Nineteenth-Century Travel Writing and the Nuclearization of the American Southwest: A Discourse Analytic Approach to W.W.H. Davis's El Gringo New Mexico and Her People
Author:
Norstad, Lille Kirsten
Issue Date:
2011
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © 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.
Abstract:
Travel narratives of the nineteenth century frequently became vehicles for colonialist discourse, strategically representing the Other(s) in order to justify their subjugation, and their land as a site of opportunity. W.W.H. Davis's travel narrative, El Gringo: New Mexico and Her People (1857) was no exception. This dissertation begins by arguing that we need to read El Gringo as a rhetorical text, that Davis's objective in portraying both the land and the people was to represent New Mexico as inherently "disponible," a term used by Mary Louise Pratt to indicate "available for capitalist improvement." Working from this assertion, I use the methodology of the Discourse-Historical Approach developed by Martin Reisigl and Ruth Wodak to explore the development of racialized constructions of New Mexican identity, their ideological relationship to "disponibility," and how these constructs have been reproduced intertextually through discourse. As accepted beliefs concerning the state, they continue to be recontextualized in new situations, notably to justify the disproportionate location of nuclear weapons-related industries, waste, and research activities within the state. Just as Davis and other earlier writers had used words such as "barren," "isolated," "unpopulated," and "wasteland," to rationalize the US presence, US government officials used these very terms a century later to argue that New Mexico was the location-of-choice for building and testing the first nuclear weapon. I argue that a direct discursive connection exists between the US colonization of New Mexico in 1846 and its nuclear colonization in 1942. As part of the ongoing legacy of colonialism, the language used to justify New Mexico's nuclear burden has marginalized the state's original inhabitants, diminishing their land rights and creating situations of environmental racism, such as the Church Rock incident on the Navajo Reservation. In some cases, Native Americans and Nuevomexicanos were "disappeared" from the discourse entirely, as with several Pueblo communities living adjacent to the site of the Manhattan Project. Dialectically, the nuclear colonization of New Mexico has transformed Manifest Destiny as well, reconfiguring its initial purpose to ensure US hegemony internally, to the ability of the US to maintain nuclear hegemony worldwide.
Type:
Electronic Dissertation; text
Keywords:
critical discourse analysis; Discourse-Historical Approach; environmental racism; New Mexico; nineteenth-century travel writing; rhetoric
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Hall, Anne-Marie

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleNineteenth-Century Travel Writing and the Nuclearization of the American Southwest: A Discourse Analytic Approach to W.W.H. Davis's El Gringo New Mexico and Her Peopleen_US
dc.creatorNorstad, Lille Kirstenen_US
dc.contributor.authorNorstad, Lille Kirstenen_US
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.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.en_US
dc.description.abstractTravel narratives of the nineteenth century frequently became vehicles for colonialist discourse, strategically representing the Other(s) in order to justify their subjugation, and their land as a site of opportunity. W.W.H. Davis's travel narrative, El Gringo: New Mexico and Her People (1857) was no exception. This dissertation begins by arguing that we need to read El Gringo as a rhetorical text, that Davis's objective in portraying both the land and the people was to represent New Mexico as inherently "disponible," a term used by Mary Louise Pratt to indicate "available for capitalist improvement." Working from this assertion, I use the methodology of the Discourse-Historical Approach developed by Martin Reisigl and Ruth Wodak to explore the development of racialized constructions of New Mexican identity, their ideological relationship to "disponibility," and how these constructs have been reproduced intertextually through discourse. As accepted beliefs concerning the state, they continue to be recontextualized in new situations, notably to justify the disproportionate location of nuclear weapons-related industries, waste, and research activities within the state. Just as Davis and other earlier writers had used words such as "barren," "isolated," "unpopulated," and "wasteland," to rationalize the US presence, US government officials used these very terms a century later to argue that New Mexico was the location-of-choice for building and testing the first nuclear weapon. I argue that a direct discursive connection exists between the US colonization of New Mexico in 1846 and its nuclear colonization in 1942. As part of the ongoing legacy of colonialism, the language used to justify New Mexico's nuclear burden has marginalized the state's original inhabitants, diminishing their land rights and creating situations of environmental racism, such as the Church Rock incident on the Navajo Reservation. In some cases, Native Americans and Nuevomexicanos were "disappeared" from the discourse entirely, as with several Pueblo communities living adjacent to the site of the Manhattan Project. Dialectically, the nuclear colonization of New Mexico has transformed Manifest Destiny as well, reconfiguring its initial purpose to ensure US hegemony internally, to the ability of the US to maintain nuclear hegemony worldwide.en_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.subjectcritical discourse analysisen_US
dc.subjectDiscourse-Historical Approachen_US
dc.subjectenvironmental racismen_US
dc.subjectNew Mexicoen_US
dc.subjectnineteenth-century travel writingen_US
dc.subjectrhetoricen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineRhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of Englishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHall, Anne-Marieen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberMiller, Thomas P.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWaugh, Lindaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest11539-
dc.identifier.oclc752261404-
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