College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date

9-2015

Document Type

Thesis

College/Department Conferring Degree

International Studies

Keywords

self/other, conceptual schizophrenia, capital development, postcolonial, indigeneity

Abstract

This Thesis traces and analyzes the historical antecedents that have led to a conceptually schizophrenic image of the Native American Other, as constructed within dominant U.S. discourses. The Thesis argues that this conceptual schizophrenia, a term borrowed from J. Marshall Beier, has been highly productive in justifying and maintaining U.S. hegemony over North American Indigenous peoples, communities, and nations. The Thesis develops a fluid historical materialist framework in order to analyze the role that capital development plays in continually shaping and developing this schizophrenic perspective. The schizophrenic perspective is not static, but fluid, and it is this fluidity that allows for consistent reimaginings of the Native American Other. This consistent reimagining of the Native American Other has continually served to justify U.S. dominance over Indigenous populations, and should not be seen as a result of an altruistic enlightenment of thought. This is to say, that the development of the dominant image of the Native American Other has not been an evolution or progression of a more authentic form of recognition, but is rather, simply a re-contextualization that serves to maintain entrenched power structures. Secondly, the Thesis examines how this schizophrenic framework has been productive in masking the incongruity between iniquitous U.S. action towards Indigenous peoples, land, and resources and the benign narrative tropes that have been instrumental in shaping the image of the U.S. national self. In the conclusion, the Thesis coalesces these ideas in order to analyze the contemporary failings of a politics of recognition.

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