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This collection takes up the challenge of transforming American literary and cultural studies into a comparative discipline by examining the dynamics of racial and cultural mixture and its opposite tendency, racial and cultural disjunction, in literatures of the Americas. Our project addresses a pervasive theme in New World literature, the issue of "miscegenation," attendant fears and hopes concerning the mixing of races, and the legacy of cultural hybridization and fusion. Our theme is framed within the method of hemispheric New World Studies, which compares the treatment of racial and cultural mixture in distinct regional, ethnic, and national literatures of the Americas. Our hope is to make visible the intricate processes of cultural and racial interaction in racial consciousness and identity in the Americas, which have been obscured by the dominant oppositional thinking that undergirds both ethnic studies and the nationalist frameworks of American and Latin American Studies. Further, in breaking down the walls between American and Latin American Studies and by building bridges between disciplines isolated by their nationalist focus, our transnational method complements its transcultural object of study.
From their various angles, the essays in this collection together chart an alternative map of the Americas which undoes the dominant linear genealogies of racial and national purity, displaying a decentered web of lines and crossings, points of encounter and fusion across boundaries. Mixing Race, Mixing Culture: Inter-American Literary Dialogues remaps the Americas as a multicultural and multiracial hemisphere, constituted through hybrid narrative geographies. It charts a transracial Other America, in José Martí's sense, from between the cracks of the dominant cultural map of the Americas. By focusing on racial and cultural mixture, the essays also show that the Other America can be Other than nation, Other than national literature, Other than regionalism, Other than regional literature. The Americas can be rezoned as a hemispheric entity, challenging conceptions of national and regional identity, with a common history of colonialism, slavery, racism, and, most important to this volume, racial and cultural hybridity.
This collection also fills an absence—to date, there is no publication that examines race mixture in a hemispheric context. While many scholars have published studies about race in the U.S. or the Americas, this is the first collection to focus extensively on the mixing of races. At the same time, it joins efforts to construct alternative plural studies of American literatures that emerged in the late 1980s and have been gathering force ever since. While we understand that there is no calcified pan-American aesthetic and that it would be naïve to claim a unified hemispheric identity, the essays nonetheless demonstrate the commonality of racial hybridity to the North and South.
Why study race mixture and cultural crossings in the literature of the Americas and devote a whole book to it? The experience of "miscegenation," as Earl Fitz points out in his contribution to this volume, lies "at the heart of the entire American experience". Race mixture, Fitz continues, long interpreted too narrowly as a question of biology, is a process that extends into the realm of culture, where it has had its most powerful impacts, affecting all areas of human lives and worlds. The cultural repercussions of race mixture require us to examine this theme: that cultural meanings, metaphors, and negative and positive charges attributed to the union of races, rather than "race mixture" taken as a question in human biology, constitute our real subject.
In his study, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity, an investigation of hybridity in the Latin American context, Néstor García Canclini makes a point of this need to advance analysis "from blood to culture." According to García Canclini, race mixture in Latin America needs to appear in the larger context of cultural and "multitemporal heterogeneity" (García Canclini 3), for the mixture of the indigenous and the European is inseparable from parallel contacts between tradition and modernity and popular and elite culture. "In Latin America, where traditions have not yet disappeared and modernity has not completely arrived," writes García Canclini, and "the cultured, the popular, and the mass-based are not where we are used to finding [them, it] is necessary to deconstruct that division and verify [its] hybridization" (García Canclini 1,2). García Canclini's investigation of Latin American hybridity as a question of uneven "development" or modernization is an important contribution to hemispheric New World Studies, precisely because it would be helpful for similar analyses in the North American context where academics typically overlook such features. According to García Canclini, to limit the question of hybridity to human biology of "blood" is to bypass Latin America's "intercultural hybridization" (207) at the level of a postmodern heterogeneity of modern and premodern cultural forms. García Canclini's idea of mapping Latin America's hybrid cultures by way of "entering" and "leaving" its heterogeneous network at multiple points (rather than constructing a linear narrative of beginning, middle, and end) is very similar to the way this collection is conceived—as probing distinct clusters of problematics that interconnect in multiple ways.
Multiculturalism is crucial to the Americas. The cultural identity of migrants to the Americas is not so much defined by their unique place of origin as it is by multiculturalism. Constituted by (im)migration and the transplantation and superimposition of European, African, and Asian cultures onto indigenous American cultures, culture is as hybrid in the Americas as anywhere else in the world. Previous literary and cultural studies of the Americas, working within the national framework, have tended to understand migrant lineage in the Americas in terms of the need to trace the American scion back to the European, African, or Asian root. Yet in the attempt to understand American identity through a return to an ancestral "elsewhere"—to the native land, to transoceanic origins—a unique pattern of culture in the Americas has been overlooked. The mixing of races and meeting of cultures in the New World represents a new beginning, constituted in this second birth in the here and now of a new place. As Pérez Firmat notes in his introduction to the collection Do the Americas Have a Common Literature?, "the Americas' cultural indebtedness to Europe is but one feature that the literatures of the New World have in common. And not enough has been said about this commonality, about the intersections and tangencies among diverse literatures of the New World considered apart from their extrahemispheric antecedents and analogues" (Pérez Firmat 2\-3). To trace American cultures back to their transoceanic sources is to ignore their new beginnings, their mestizo, mulatto, or métis rebirths in the American hemisphere.
Mixing Race, Mixing Culture: Inter-American Literary Dialogues marks the transition from tracing singular lineages between the American cultures as offspring of one particular extrahemispheric parent to seeing what emerges in the encounter and clash of cultures once they have arrived. To take New World studies seriously, we need to recognize and study a problem unique to the Americas—the multicultural and multiracial mixture of distinct extrahemispheric lineages. It entails delegitimizing the authority of pure cultural origins and legitimizing the bastard syncretic creations born of American interbreeding. For the Caribbean in particular, as Michael Dash points out in his study, The Other America: Caribbean Literature in a New World Context, the focus on hybridity and cultural interchanges is essential (Dash 3\-5). The Caribbean is paradigmatically syncretic; transculturation is what the Caribbean is all about—for the purposes of this collection, Caribbean hybridity is a miniature prototype of the mixed-race Americas.
The shift from immigrant origins to cultural crossroads, from pure-blood lineage to mixed-blood Americas parallels another critical reorientation central to this volume. In North America, as elsewhere in the Americas, national literature and nationalist criticism has pursued the question of how European immigrants become Americans or Canadians. How to claim legitimacy as "native" Americans in a nation of immigrants? How can a nation of settlers become native to its national territory? As Leslie Fiedler, Terry Goldie, and others have pointed out, a strong link exists between cultural and literary nationalism and the figure of the indigene, the Native. Idealized portrayals of Indians are a staple of white nationalist writing in the Americas, as the essays by Priscilla Archibald and Debra Rosenthal show. The important question hinges on telling what kind of kinship is constructed between Native and white. Is it a relation of blood, a relation of love, biological family kinship, or spiritual friendship? Indeed, the encounter between indigenous peoples and white immigrants and settlers represents one of the main cultural stages of interracial encounters and cultural crossbreeding in the Americas. The Indian-white contact zone is one of the major field sites in the geography of a transracial Other America, which this collection aims to chart and which is the focal subject of the section entitled "Indigenization, Miscegenation, and Nationalism."
The setting of the meeting-ground between Indian and white could not be anywhere but America. Its cultural interactions are sedimented in identity changes (or hybridization) on the part of both partners in the exchange. Importantly, though, this dialogic contamination is asymmetrical, not parallel. In the white literary imagination, the encounter between idealized Native and white is constructed so as to enable the European immigrant to become native—to become an American, Canadian, Peruvian like the Indian. The whole point, in other words, is cultural appropriation of indigenous identity by whites. As both Archibald and Rosenthal show, that is why in nationalist literature we find that, paradoxically, the symptom of the "Vanishing American" accompanies the process of "Becoming American." Real Natives are donors of native identity whose recipient is the nationalist constituency, the "new" native Americans. Real Indians disappear so that immigrants can adopt their cultural heritage as "native" Americans. So far, this is a familiar story, canonized in American Studies. Witness, for instance, Leslie Fiedler's discussion of the American Western in The Return of the Vanishing American:
The Western story...is...a fiction dealing with the confrontation in the wilderness of a transplanted WASP and a racially alien other, an Indian—leading either to a metamorphosis of the WASP into something neither White nor Red (sometimes by adoption, sometimes by sheer emulation, but never by actual miscegenation), or else to the annihilation of the Indian.... [T]he ultimate Westerner ceases to be White at all and turns back into the Indian, his boots becoming moccasins,...he has fallen...out of the Europeanized West, into an aboriginal and archaic America (Fiedler 24-25).
In Fear and Temptation: The Image of the Indigene in Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand Literatures, Terry Goldie discusses the representation of indigenous peoples by white settlers as "indigenization": "In their need to become 'native,' to belong here, whites in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have adopted a process which I have termed 'indigenization'" (Goldie 13). The difference between Fiedler's classic analysis and Goldie's ideological critique of Indian mythology in white fiction is that Goldie identifies the reality of semiotic colonialism underneath the mythical metamorphosis of whites into "aboriginal" Americans described by Fiedler. Yet both Fiedler's classic American Studies approach and Goldie's postcolonial critique of this position remain caught within a binary mode (white vs. Indian), which cannot adequately recognize a third dynamic, the process of hybrid crossing. To view the imaginary kinship of whites with Natives merely in terms of appropriation, as Goldie would have it, is to overlook that the process of imaginary projection as native American is more than semiotic kidnapping to empower Euro-Americans (whom Goldie assumes remain essentially unchanged).
The goal of this collection is to remind readers that the mythological transformation of immigrants into native Americans is more than the transplantation of a changeless Eurocentric culture from one place to another. If the white nationalist imagination appropriates indigenous identity, the conquest also cuts both ways: "indigenization" hybridizes the European agent. Tellingly, Fiedler's comments are rife with the language of "breeding": speaking of Cooper's Natty Bumppo, Fiedler calls him the "first...of those Americans reborn in their encounter with the Indian on his own home grounds, which is to say, born again out of a union between men. Though he has, as he likes to boast over and over, 'no cross in my blood,' no taint of miscegenation in his begetting, he is neither a white man nor a Red, but something new under the sun . . ." (Fiedler 117-118). The object of this collection is to reread Fiedler's comments not through the lens of a postcolonial analysis of power and resistance, but as a description of a moment in the genesis of the Other America, the transcultural, hybrid America. Both alluding to and rejecting the idea of a biological union between Indian and white, Fiedler invokes the discourse of "unnatural" breeding—between the races, without taint of blood, and yet without doubt "fertile" (a "begetting") in its lasting transformation of the identity of the white counterpart in crossing with the indigene. The figure of a newborn American, brainchild of the white nationalist imagination, neither can be reduced to a Eurocentric figure nor is it a pure-blood descendant of Europe's mythological lineage. We hope that this collection can show that, in indigenizing the white settler who wants to belong to the land like a native, the nationalist imaginary breeds a hybrid identity.
Nationalist indigenization, a cross-cultural formation, is indigenous to the Americas in another way: indigenous not in the biological sense in which indigenous peoples have aboriginal ancestry (to assert this would be in bad faith; it would also be to essentialize, literalize, and naturalize what, as Fiedler playfully suggests, is artifice, an unnatural signification on aboriginality). Hybrid culturally, white nationalist nativism is indigenous to the Americas because that is where it is "begotten," as a cross-cultural formation whose semiotic emergence nationalist writing conveys in the language of biology to stress the authority that it should rightfully carry, founding, as it does, a new origin and a new cultural inheritance of belonging to the Americas.
Generalizing from what has just been said, and taking up our initial comment on the comparativist methodology of this book, it is clear that our theme of cultural "miscegenation" goes beyond nationalist concepts of culture that underlie the traditional framework of American and Latin American studies. Hybridization suggests a nonexclusive, plural, dialogic, or multicultural model of culture. As with the example of imaginary indigenization we have just discussed in detail, the essays in this collection do not address themselves to distinctions between authenticity and contamination, purity and appropriation. Instead, our goal is to show how transnational and transcultural currents generate new multicultural formations, whose legitimacy as American cultures derives not from any transplantation of a pure extrahemispheric lineage, but from (ongoing) dynamics of cultural creation.
Any collection on "miscegenation" and cultural hybridity needs to address the question of terminology. Among the wide variety of terms used in essays in this collection—hybridity, miscegenation, race mixture, amalgamation, cultural fusion, transculturation, creolization, métissage, mestizaje, mixed-blood, etc.—the most important distinction is that between "blood" and culture, or "crossbreeding" in a biological and a cultural sense. Some terms, like mixed-blood, miscegenation, or amalgamation, evoke the biological union of different races; others, like creolization, métissage and mestizaje, hybridity, and transculturation, are used to refer to the mixing of cultures in cross-cultural formations. While other scholars pay a great deal of attention to the social constitution of these concepts, our interest in this collection is not in the etymological and scientific history of these terms. Rather, following what Robert Young points out, we want to acknowledge that even those terms that today we take to evoke cultural formations, such as hybridity, are deeply embroiled in nineteenth-century racial ideology. A nineteenth-century word whose origins in the essentializating biology of human races has been forgotten in late twentieth century cultural criticism, "[h]ybridity in particular," Young reminds us, "shows the connections between the racial categories of the past and contemporary cultural discourse" (Young 27).
Because the issues Young raises have both historical and epistemological dimensions, this collection leads off with an essay by Werner Sollors entitled, "Can Rabbits Have Interracial Sex?" Perhaps the most important historical point (we discuss the epistemological issue later in the introduction) is seen in Sollors' rejoinder to Young about the forgotten roots of hybridity in nineteenth-century debates about race in terms of biological "species." If, as the racist position argued, whites and blacks belonged to different human species (the polygenists' position), then intermarriage could legitimately be prohibited as "unnatural mongrelization." If on the other hand all humans, regardless of race, constitute a single species, then interracial crossings and amalgamation would lose their stigma (the monogenists' position). Sollors' essay discusses a controversy over "miscegenation" that erupted in the U.S. South in 1958 after the publication of Garth Williams' The Rabbits' Wedding, a children's book and an innocuous animal fable about a black and a white rabbit who get married and start a family. "The Rabbits' Wedding," reports Sollors, "was thus publicly themed as a dangerous text promoting racial integration" (Sollors 59). That segregationists made a connection between rabbits and humans with respect to "breeding" serves as a pertinent reminder that "the racial categories of the past," as Young points out, remain residual in "contemporary cultural discourse" (Young 27).
Given the close links between race and culture, however, readers need not be reminded that historical differences exist between the way the Hispanophone and Francophone Americas on the one hand and Anglophone America on the other have treated other races and their cultures. U.S. removal and exclusionary practices in relation to Amerindians and blacks are in stark contrast to Latin America's subordinate inclusion of non-European races.7 Consequently, our project of revisioning the Americas through the lens of its multicultural formations imports an analytical and social pattern to U.S. studies that is more native to Latin America and the Caribbean than to the U.S. Indeed, a main purpose of our hemispheric comparativism is to affirm cultural realities that also are prevalent in the U.S. Our goal is to bring to light the hidden mixed-race history of the U.S. and help create a public discourse about race mixture and multiculturalism that ends its denial as an all-American reality.
As noted at the outset, this collection situates itself among other hemispheric and comparative studies of literature of the Americas. The collection thus asks about shared cultural and literary patterns in the New World. The real question, however, is what kind of kinships, continuities, or dialogues (established by which agents) exist among the diverse literatures of North America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. In his introduction to the sophisticated collection, Do the Americas Have a Common Literature?, Gustavo Pérez Firmat lists four kinds of comparative methods, "which can be labeled generic, genetic, appositional, and mediative" (Pérez Firmat 3). The connections range among extreme looseness and existing trans-American literary genealogies, from the "appositional" method of side-by-side juxtaposition of texts to tracing "genetic" connection (that is, of documented influence) between authors and texts.
The need to construct bridges through creative criticism, given the scarcity of documented kinships, shows us how much inter-American comparisons remain a discipline-in-progress. To a large extent, its object becomes visible through gradual and imaginative formulations of its methods. At the same time, our theme, race and cultural mixture, belongs to Pérez Firmat's first category (the generic), defined as transnational concepts of "wide applicability" in the hemispheric context (3). Race mixture is an all-American phenomenon, but its discrete regional and national instances do not stem from one single origin. Thus, our theme is situated between the "appositional" and the "genetic," or halfway between constituting a set of concepts that belong to the same literary/cultural inter-American "blood" family and a dialogue between foreign languages. In short, in inter-American criticism, race and cultural mixture occupies a hybrid position between difference and sameness—indeed, a mirror image of itself.
In contrast to José David Saldívar's terminological choice in The Dialectics of Our America, we prefer the notion of "dialogics" to "dialectics" as a methodological umbrella term for our multicultural and pan-American project. Dialectics stresses the antithetical posture of countering, or, as Saldívar writes, "redirects the Eurocentric focus of earlier scholarship in American Studies and identifies a distinctive postcolonial, pan-American consciousness" (Saldívar xi). Saldívar's dialectical method emphasizes the opposition between what he calls "our distinctive mestizo American culture—a culture of hybrid Americans, ethnic and cultural descendants of aborigines, Africans, and Europeans" (xii) and the Eurocentric America which has been the traditional subject of American and Latin American Studies. Are race mixture and multiculturalism better understood as conflict or fusion? We believe that the answer is neither oppositionality nor obliteration of differences, while we also need to distinguish between two separate dimensions: on the one hand, the actual racial and cultural exchanges, and, on the other, the two opposed modes of affirming (on the part of Martí's mixed-race America) and negating (on the part of Eurocentric America) multicultural dynamics in the Americas, which, to oversimplify, are generally parallel to the geographical divide between South and North, Latin and Anglo America.
Thinking about how to emphasize continuities and conflicts opens up the question about the relationship between counterdiscourse and hybridity, taken up in Section II, "Métissage and Counterdiscourse." As Françoise Lionnet advocates, métissage is "more complex than a 'double consciousness'" or "standard postcolonial counter-discourse". Discussing the feminist vision in the work of French Caribbean writer Maryse Condé, Lionnet points out that her novel, Windward Heights, is "not simply a reaction against the misrepresentations that inform an earlier European text". Rather, the "novel forces the re-visioning of counter-discursive practices in light of feminist ones". Hence, Lionnet suggests viewing métissage as a "braiding of traditions", what she calls a "transcolonial" mode of responding in a plural, inclusionary rather than reductive, exclusionary manner. Once more than one set of conflicts enter the equation, Lionnet argues, and if we want to understand the compounded intersections of race, gender, and other differences, we need to shift to models of triangulation, as with her example of the crossroads of feminism and racial hybridity. To extrapolate from Lionnet's premise, in three-way and other, even more complex crossings, dialogic interweaving overwhelms dialectical antithesis.
In her essay, "Créolité or Ambiguity?", Michèle Praeger argues that the Martiniquan Creolists, Jean Bernabé, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Raphaël Confiant, authors of Eloge de la Creolité, have reached an "aporia" because as they try to reject Western universalist identity, they are still complicit with it. Like Lionnet, Praeger explores the complexities and internal contradictions of creolist counterdiscourse to Metropolitan French culture. While the better-known Eloge de la Creolité affirms a unified counteridentity by repetitive negation of Western identity ("Neither European, nor African, nor Asian, we proclaim ourselves créoles"), Praeger argues, creole identity should be viewed as identity-in-progress, one that is also embroiled in the Western "web of illusions and exoticisms". Thus, "Suzanne Césaire, and contemporary critics, emphasize...that French Caribbean identity is yet to be born".
This collection is subtitled Inter-American Literary Dialogues. Pointing out the potential of dialogics, and, specifically, Bakhtinian dialogic discourse as a model of literary criticism, Don Bialostosky writes,
To read others dialogically, then, would be to read for an opening in the discussion or a provocation to further discourse, and if such reading errs, it would not be likely to do so in the same ways as dialectical or rhetorical readings do. Dialogic reading would not generally reduce others to consistent dialectical counterparts, or dwell on the inconsistencies in their positions, or transcend them in higher syntheses. Nor would it minimize others as rhetorical opponents by attempting to discredit them. Instead, dialogic reading would assume the right to represent others in terms they might not have anticipated or acknowledged (Bialostosky 790).
In agreement with Bialostosky, we believe that dialogics' openness to otherness, rather than the antithetical pattern of dialectics (with its drive toward synthesis and identity), creates the necessary unstructured space for a pluralistic cross-cultural exchange to take place, as well as for criticism to explain the mixing of cultures. At the same time, in order not to take an extreme position, we admit that multiculturalism is both dialectical and dialogical, as it tends towards contestation and confluence. Thus, the approaches taken by essays in this collection range between both models of two-way and three-way comparisons, where two-way comparisons, as Debra J. Rosenthal's contribution shows, need not be dialectical, but they can also be dialogic (Rosenthal uses Pérez Firmat's term, "appositional").
If we select and isolate single dualistic scenarios, such as "miscegenation" between black and white, or white and Indian, cross-breeding cultures fits the dialectical structure of the encounter and clash of two distinct counterparts. Yet if we open the focus to larger-scale comparisons, and especially if we depart from the dominant U.S. tradition of pitting opposites against each other, as in this hemispheric collection that encompasses multiple arenas of cultural encounter with numerous agents, the pattern of their meeting needs to be understood as polydirectional and multivocal—thus, like the unpredictable and chaotic rhythm of an ongoing dialogue. While dialectics assumes that the encounter will proceed along set lines (thesis, antithesis, synthesis), dialogics never predicts future turns of the process: as Bialostosky points out, new voices joining the dialogue "may not offer an antithesis to a given thesis or an answer to a proposed question but may introduce another way of talking that challenges the very language of the present interlocutors" (790).
In his discussion of the socio-historical origins of the concept of hybridity, Robert Young identifies two "models of cultural interaction, language and sex" (Young 6). Bakhtin's concept of hybridity, which appears as a component of his theory of dialogic discourse in The Dialogic Imagination, constitutes Young's case for the former model of cultural exchange, "linguistic hybridity" (Young 20ff.) It is while discussing Bakhtin that Young offers his pertinent idea that "Hybridity is...itself a hybrid concept" (Young 21). As Young explains, Bakhtin distinguishes two types of linguistic hybridity: the first type, "an organic hybridity, which will tend towards fusion, [is] in conflict with [a second type,] intentional hybridity, which enables a contestatory activity, a politicized setting of cultural differences against each other dialogically" (Young 22). In the essay "Discourse in the Novel," the source of all of Young's comments, Bakhtin explains this subtle difference constituting what Young calls a "double form of hybridity: all languages, in all times and cultures, display organic hybridity, a living heteroglossia. For as long as they remain living languages, they evolve by hybridization, by adopting and incorporating alien voices and elements and expelling others, always existing as a mixed conglomerate of socially heterogeneous components. Social heteroglossia (and heteroglossia would include multiculturalism) defines any living language; for ever since Adam's mythical first word naming a "yet verbally unqualified world" (Bakhtin 279), the linguistic condition has been a border zone, where new discourse must encounter a Borgesian universe already spoken and written about by others. Because Bakhtin views language as inseparable from spoken utterance in the real world, his theory of dialogic discourse (unlike formalist linguistics) lends itself to theories of cross-cultural exchanges and texts as socially symbolic forms. According to Bakhtin, novelistic discourse takes this organic, unintentional hybridity of language (where "the mixture remains mute and opaque, never making use of conscious contrasts and oppositions" [Bakhtin 360]) and reconfigures it as an artistic, conscious, intentional hybridity. Thus, in the intentional hybrid (of novelistic discourse), heteroglossia becomes "internally dialogic," by which Bakhtin means that the oppositional voices are set against each other and "consciously fight it out on the territory of the utterance" (Bakhtin 360). "Double-accented," "double-voiced," and "double-languaged," intentional (literary) hybridity enables one voice to unmask and ironize another, such that it generates a conversation between mixed but competing voices whose point is not fusion or resolution but the ongoing mutual illumination of their differences.
In sum, Bakhtin posits that stylized hybridization in the dialogic discourse of the novel is grounded in the universal organic ur-hybridity of language itself, whose dialogism is yet unconscious and mute. Literature (for Bakhtin, principally novelistic prose) only brings this pre-existing hybridity of language to its fruition as a self-conscious principle. Young comments that "Bakhtin's doubled form of hybridity therefore offers a particularly significant dialectical model for cultural interaction" (Young 22). We agree that Bakhtin's unique understanding of the relation of language and literature as grounded in a common principle—socially symbolic hybridization—whose organic manifestation in language "tends towards fusion" (Young 22), while its stylized manifestation in literature displays the dialogic potential of hybridity as an art of the border zone, is a significant contribution for hemispheric American Studies as a discipline-in-progress and the subject of this collection in particular. The idea of dialogic discourse as mutual illumination of social heteroglossia takes us beyond the nationalist model of literature, where texts are framed as univocal utterances of "imagined communities" speaking in a single voice. Bakhtin's theory not only lends itself to the discussion of transnational and cross-border literature, but also uncovers the heteroglossia of métissage and mestizaje within "American" and "Latin American" literature. Finally, because organic hybridity of language results in amalgamation, while intentional hybridity of literature maintains the dialectical conflict and separation between voices, Bakhtin points out (as Bialostosky notes) a new way of representing conflicts in an open and non-reductive manner. It seems that dialectics opens out to dialogics, while dialogics narrows down to dialectics—both are interwoven.
To move on to the discussion of the collection's organization, while Section II, "Métissage and Counterdiscourse," debates the notion of Caribbean métissage as counterdiscourse to European discourse, Section IV, "Hybrid Hybridity," explores more directly the multiplicity of hybridity and juxtaposes competing versions of hybridity. For Francophone Caribbean discourse, Lionnet's and Praeger's essays both showed the limits of the Manichean model of "pure" counterdiscourse (which only perpetuates the rigid binaries of colonial discourse), making the case for a plural and dialogic model of contestation.
Thus, Pérez-Torres' and Kaup's essays both reinforce Lionnet's and Praeger's case for métissage understood as relational interweaving of contending discourses (Lionnet), thus exemplifying Young's comment that hybridity itself is hybrid. Discussing hybridity in Chicano literature, Pérez-Torres speaks of mestizaje's "over-determination". Setting out with the white suppression of the Chicano Other, as evidenced in the 1956 Texas film Giant, which doubly marginalizes the mestizo by devaluing his/her brown body and silencing his/her voice, Pérez-Torres' argument traces the emergence of Chicano subjectivity out of the void and toward a public affirmation of the mestiza/o voice and a "reclamation" of the dark body. Chicano self-definition "resurrect[s]" the mestizo from his/her marginalization in Eurocentric discourse. At the same time, Pérez-Torres insists that mestizo self-definition is not univocal, but "enacts that self-definition in multiple ways". Kaup takes up the story where Pérez-Torres leaves off, examining the assumption that, under the current "euphoria about hybridity and liminality," the "'new peoples' of North America, too, are finally emerging from their long public invisibility". Looking at Mexican American and Métis Canadian discourse, her argument shows that their hybridity is hybrid. Repeated cycles of conquest in the North American West interrupted the unfolding process of métissage and mestizaje, causing it to be overwhelmed by the discourse of nationalism, and hybridity to be split by the battle between dominant discourse and ethnic counterdiscourse.
The question concerning how knowledge about mixed-race identity and the crossing of cultures is constituted is posed in Section I, "Mixed-Blood Epistemologies." Who can be a "knower"? Is there a mixed-blood standpoint that outsiders, too, can or need to assume to generate mixed-blood discourse? Should mixed-blood discourse be founded on the authority of experience? As with women and other minorities, traditional epistemology has excluded the possibility that "half-breeds" and "mulattos," as lesser humans (mulatto derives from "mule"), can be agents of knowledge. At the same time, unlike women or, say, blacks, some mixed-race people can "pass," and thus assume authority under a false guise. Thus, mixed-race people share with lesbians and gays the experience of passing, and double lives that can pass back and forth between hidden private selves and public masks. What Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick calls "the epistemology of the closet," the crisscrossing of the line between closeted selves and public disclosure also characterizes the lives of mixed-blood people. Werner Sollors explores this epistemological uncertainty by questioning whether we can tell that "miscegenation" is indeed the theme of a text. If Garth Williams' The Rabbits' Wedding is about the marriage between a black and a white rabbit, how could Southern conservative audiences in the pre-Civil Rights era "know," and tell for certain, that the book was really about dreaded miscegenation and racial amalgamation? Discussing Cuban Cirilo Villaverde's novel Cecilia Valdés, Doris Sommer shows how Villaverde artfully translates the mixed-blood epistemology of the closet into a narrative strategy of playful concealment and disclosure. The truth about protagonist Cecilia's racial background is known to the black slaves, while the white and mulatto masters are and want to remain ignorant. Clare Kendry, the mulatto woman at the center of Nella Larsen's Passing, discussed by Zita Nunes, is a trickster figure who conceals her black descent to assimilate into whiteness. Clare embodies epistemological uncertainty about racial identity, and her passing as white represents an act of crossing racial thresholds that breaks down the order of things, undermining U.S. racial segregation. Nunes' essay further traces hemispheric connections between the U.S. and Brazil, showing how Brazil functioned as a utopia of racial hybridity and racial democracy in the African American imagination in the early twentieth century. Representative of the African American construction of what Nunes calls a "phantasmatic Brazil," Larsen's Passing juxtaposes the U.S. model of racial purity to a utopian image of Brazilian racial integration, an image to which Afro-Brazilian writers would object, pointing out that it is a black North American dream rather than a South American reality.
The treatment of miscegenation and interracial love in nationalist novels of nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. and Andean literature is discussed in Section III, "Indigenization, Miscegenation, and Nationalism." Without repeating the relevant argument treated earlier in this introduction, nationalism idealizes and essentializes Amerindians while rejecting mestizaje and the mestizo as illegitimate and unnatural. Why the striking clash between discursive approval of pure-blood Indians and disapproval of mixed-blood unions and offspring? Both Archibald and Rosenthal show that national literature wants to appropriate Amerindian claims to belonging to the homeland, and therefore must exclude mixedbloods as agents who blur the purity of Native lineage. As Debra J. Rosenthal points out, "miscegenation" is the usage appropriate to this section on national literature, where cross-racial unions are viewed negatively. Archibald and Rosenthal both show that Indigenismo revindicates Indian cultures but does so while constructing them in a romantic and ahistorical image. Archibald's essay critiques the Andean version of indigenization through the lens of gender. Like Lionnet in her discussion of métissage, Archibald examines mestizaje through a feminist lens. The indigenous mother is blamed for breeding mestizo children, which shows that the Native male is the idealized object of the mirror relationship between the fraternal nation and its elective Native "kin." Rosenthal's essay applies two Andean literary critical categories, Indianismo and Indigenismo, to nineteenth-century U.S. novels about Indians. Rosenthal's side-by-side comparison of two Andean novels (Cumandá, Aves sin nido) with two U.S. novels (The Last of the Mohicans, Ramona) shows surprising similarities and differences. On the one hand, Andean and U.S. national literature are in agreement in the distinction between romantic (Indianismo) and politically engaged (Indigenismo) novels about Indians. On the other hand, unlike the U.S. texts, the Andean novels mix relations of love and "blood," miscegenation and incest. The Latin American disclosure that miscegenous love would be incest, because the interracial lovers turn out to be brother and sister, speaks volumes about differences between Anglo and Latin American treatment of racial Others as inside or outside the same nation-family.
In her essay "The Squatter, the Don, and the Grandissimes in Our America," Susan Gillman reads interracial politics via José Martí to question late nineteenth-century interest in race and ethnicity. As the translator of Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona, Martí views Ramona as another Uncle Tom's Cabin, for both tried to vindicate an oppressed minority. Gillman establishes these two novels and the black-Indian connection reinforced by Martí's twinning of Jackson-Stowe as a base from which to explore the ways local color and regionalism construct a hemispheric tenor. She performs a Martíean reading of María Amparo Ruiz de Burton's The Squatter and the Don and George Washington Cable's The Grandissimes to conjoin the Spanish Borderlands with the black Atlantic. These authors, Gillman argues, "have thus reshaped the dominant national cultural icons of Americanization at their time, from the romance of reunion to nostalgia for the passing of the Southern, Mission and Indian (fantasy) pasts, into tools of critical internationalism and types of imagined international communities". Gillman's essay thus explores the themes of the indigenous, race mixture, and nationalism, generic to the Americas, from a "mediative" perspective à la Pérez Firmat as discussed above: Burton's and Cable's novels embed an inter-American perspective, a "critical internationalism of the kind best identified with Martí" that is internal to the texts themselves.
Chicano writer Rolando Hinojosa and Native American critic Louis Owens recount memories of growing up mixed-blood in Section V, "Sites of Memory in Mixed-Race Autobiography." Both use an external physical object or place, a site of memory, to unfold the meanings of their cross-cultural identity. Hinojosa shows how a river, the Rio Grande, embodies the memories of a single culture in the Rio Grande Valley that united what are now Mexico and South Texas. The river represents the bridge uniting both sides of the bicultural and biracial Mexican American heritage. Owens takes a 1913 photograph of his great-grandfather's family, exploring the problem of "telling" his indigenous ancestors by their looks. Owens questions whether photographs can "tell" Indians, let alone provide visual evidence to distinguish mixedbloods and fullbloods. Owens thus reminds us of the epistemological question about how one "knows" about, and who knows about, mixed-blood identity, and of continuities between authenticity and simulation. Further, according to Owens, the mixedblood possesses trickster-like qualities of being slippery and undefinable.
The book closes with Earl Fitz' essay, a survey of eight mixed-race texts from across the hemisphere. As his survey shows, treatments of "miscegenation" have gradually yielded to images of race mixture as multiculturalism. Formerly exoticized portrayals of interracial crossings are being replaced by representations of race mixture through ordinary people and worlds. As Fitz writes, "these works typify what we may justifiably consider a new and more culturally honest late twentieth century response to our old blood-based preoccupation with the issue of miscegenation and its various socio-cultural ramifications".
The multiple "entries" that this collection makes into the territory of hemispheric American literature and the subject of hybridity are intended as representative openings, which follow the strategies of García Canclini. In the following characteristic passage, García Canclini remaps Latin America in a manner that breaks with dominant models of linear genealogies of racial and national purity:
There can be no future for our past while we waver between the reactive fundamentalisms against the modernity achieved, and the abstract modernisms that resist problematizing our "deficient" capacity to be modern. To leave behind this "western," the maniacal pendulum, it is not enough to be interested in how traditions are reproduced and transformed. The postmodern contribution is useful for escaping from the impasse insofar as it reveals the constructed and staged character of all tradition, including that of modernity: it refutes the originary quality of traditions and the originality of innovations. At the same time, it offers the opportunity to rethink the modern as a project that is relative, doubtable, not antagonistic to traditions nor destined to overcome them by some unverifiable evolutionary law. It serves, in short, to make us simultaneously take charge of the impure itinerary of traditions and of the disjointed, heterodox achievement of modernity (García Canclini 143-144).
García Canclini's notion of the "impurity" of major cultural formations in the Americas corresponds to the critical framework that this collection has used in its pan-American comparative inquiries. Culture and literature in the Americas reveal themselves, to echo Bakhtin, as hybrid in the sense of their internal dialogism. The literature about race and cultural mixture the contributors have examined, and the critical strategies brought to bear on this literature, accent and reconfigure existing cultural oppositions and syntheses—the organic hybridity of pan-American cultures—and display them as intentional hybridity, as a conscious socio-semiotic exchange which enables previously unrealized or muted conversations between contending cultures-in-contact.
As has hopefully come across to the reader, since "exiting" (following García Canclini) is a kind of opening up, the categories examined in the five sections of this collection are not intended to limit investigations, but rather to invite further reflection. Our central concern has been to convince readers that there is substantial common ground across the many national, cultural, and historical divisions in the Americas that warrants a fresh, non-traditional dialogic investigation of its hybrid cultures. Even the tallest walls, the historical and cultural barriers dividing the Northern and Southern, or the "Anglo" and "Hispanic" regions of the hemisphere, can be torn down and reconstructured as bridges in the traces of previously unrealized (but presently multiplying) currents of North-South exchanges. For more than a century, Latin American intellectuals, including José Martí, Rubén Darío, José Vasconcelos, and Roberto Fernández Retamar, have sounded the theme of "Nuestra América," the idea of a Latinized, Catholic, mestizo America contending with the "Other America," the Anglo, Protestant, racially homogeneous, imperial colossus to the North. Latin Americanism has been "invented," as a transnational cultural tradition, as a self-conscious alternative to the self-confident and expanding America of the North. For our project, the uncovering of North America's "hidden mestizo histories" and the unmasking of the fictions of racial, cultural, and national purity everywhere across the continent, Latin Americanism's heritage of a multicultural, hybrid América can act as a catalyst to help bring about a paradigm change.