The necropolitics of new world nativism

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This essay outlines the necropolitical structure of the national romance in North and South America, tracing the ways in which the heirs of colonial violence and occupation rewrite themselves as native patriots through rituals of mourning in national culture. Connecting the lament of the Vanishing American in the United States to the celebratory Creole patriot movement in Spanish America, it argues for the centrality of mourning to the work of imagining the nation. Nativist mourning is not only an acknowledgment of loss but also an affirmative materialism through which the mourner emerges as a national subject by rendering impossible a Native American present and presence. This affective economy of the national romance legitimizes Creole nationalism as an indigenous patriotism, a birthright claimed through the sighs and tears of the romance's reader that evoke simultaneously a feeling in common with always-historical Native American figures and the exceptional position of the survivor, the one who remains to mourn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-744
Number of pages32
JournalEarly American Literature
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Literature and Literary Theory


  • Catherine Maria Sedgwick
  • Creole patriotism
  • Death
  • Eliza Cabot Follen
  • Historical romance
  • Indianismo
  • Jicoténcal
  • José Joaquín de Olmedo
  • Mourning
  • Nationalism
  • Representing indigeneity
  • Vanishing American
  • Victória de Junín: Canto a Bolívar


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