By Wilma George, Yapp. W. B.
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Extra info for A Natural History of the Bestiary
Such ethnic boundaries are inherently permeable and constantly in negotiation. Cultural traits, language, territory, and ancestry may be utilized as resources during these ongoing negotiations, but “only those which the actors themselves regard as signiﬁcant” (Barth 1969:14) are employed in this way. Because ethnicities are deﬁned through external boundaries, ethnic groups are internally heterogeneous, so much so that even within a single family, each member has a diªerent relationship to the ethnic identity (Barth 1994).
What other transformations in social life were occurring during this period so that older forms of identiﬁcation lost relevancy and others became salient? How were the “subsurface” components of racialized identities reconﬁgured in order to enable and stabilize Californio identity? Interrogating Ethnicity Ethnicity became an important means of social diªerencing in Spanish-colonial San Francisco. What, then, is ethnicity? Although I concur with Fraser Neiman Ethnogenesis and the Archaeology of Identity 25 (1999:139) that “attempts to oªer strict deﬁnitions [of ethnicity] are likely to generate more heat than light,” it is nonetheless important to examine how this category has been understood, both the category itself and its relation to other practices of identiﬁcation.
Colonization of the American Southeast, notes how Native Americans claimed “forms of diªerentiation [that] were imposed ‘from above’ . . as part of processes of asserting their own interests and of resisting—and colluding with, evading, and accommodating to—domination” (1994:112). Of indigenous responses to the Spanish conquest of the Americas, Michel de Certeau writes that “they [the Indians] subverted them [colonial regimes] not by rejecting or altering them, but by using them with respect to ends and references foreign to the system they had no choice but to accept.
A Natural History of the Bestiary by Wilma George, Yapp. W. B.