On gendered settler borderlands: Karen R. Roybal, ‘Forgetting the Alamo and Male Privilege: Settler Colonialism and Gendered Resistance Along the Borderlands’, Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 43, 2, 2022, pp. 62-87


Abstract: Settler colonialism in the early- to mid-nineteenth century ushered in social, political, racial, and religious unrest across what we know today as the US/Mexico borderlands. This essay examines this significant period of settler colonialism in Texas through two novels, written 150 years apart: Augusta Evans’s 1855 novel, Inéz: A Tale of the Alamo, and Emma Pérez’s 2009 novel, Forgetting the Alamo, or, Blood Memory. Drawing on Richard Flores’s and Marita Sturken’s conceptions of cultural memory, the essay illustrates how the novels challenge colonialist ideologies by critiquing the Catholic Church, the settlement and claiming of the Texas/Mexico borderlands, and the conflicted gender and sexual relations and privileging of heteropatriarchy that reinforce the settler colonial structure. In so doing, Evans’s and Pérez’s novels produce distinct gendered cultural memories that challenge popular conceptions of 1830s, male-centric versions of Texas history. Though Evans and Pérez write from different subject positions, each author reveals how, in literature, cultural memory allows for an alternative narration of history that privileges voices often rendered silent in the historical record. The gendered cultural memories illuminated in these novels disrupt dominant normative assumptions about history and historical events by drawing attention to the active process of forgetting that erases ethnic Mexican women’s experiences.

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