In Manifesting America, Mark Rifkin explores how writings by Native Americans and former Mexicans challenge the legal narratives that normalize their absorption into U.S. national space. Demonstrating how the creation and extension of U.S. jurisdiction in the antebellum period functions as an imperial system, the book focuses on Indian removal in the southeast and western Great Lakes regions as well as the annexation of Texas and California. It tracks the confrontation between U.S. law and the self-representations of once-alien peoples subjected to it, showing how U.S. institutions legitimize conquest as consensual by creating forms of official recognition for dominated groups that reinforce the obviousness of U.S. mappings. However, these mappings remain haunted and disturbed by the persistence of the political geographies of indigenous and Mexican peoples made domestic in the process of national expansion. Examining a variety of nonfictional writings (including memorials, autobiographies, and histories) produced by imperially displaced populations, Rifkin illustrates how these texts contest the terms and dynamics of U.S. policy, indexing specific forms of collectivity and placemaking disavowed in official accounts.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc