Synopses & Reviews
This ambitious book brings to light the story of what Jose F. Buscaglia-Salgado terms mulataje--the ways Caribbean aesthetics offer the possibility of the ultimate erasure of racial difference. Undoing Empire gives a broad panorama stretching-from the complex politics of medieval Iberian societies to the beginning of direct U.S. hegemony in the Caribbean at the end of the nineteenth century. Buscaglia-Salgado begins with an examination of Washington Irving's "American Columbiad" as an act of historical and territorial plundering. He then traces the roots of mulatto society to the pre-1492 Iberian world, not only finding a connection between the Moors of "Old Spain" and the morenos--the blacks and mulattos of the New World--but also offering a profound critique of creole and imperial discourses. Buscaglia-Salgado reads the pursuit and contestation of what he terms the European Ideal in colonial texts, architecture, and paintings; then identifies the mulatto movement of "undoing" the Ideal in the wars that shook the nineteenth-century Caribbean from Haiti to Cuba, arguing that certain projects of national liberation have moved contrary to the historical claims to freedom in the mulatto world.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 265-322) and index.