Damian Baca – “te-ixtli: The ‘Other Face’ of the Americas from Rhetorics of the Americas 3114 BCE to 2012 CE

  • Baca begins by noting the tendency of European universalism (Wallerstein) to quash non-Western cultural representations in political ideology, cultural meanings, and historical narratives.
  • Baca has a series of guiding questions that I find quite remarkable for considering how we think about culture in colonialized contexts:  What is effective resistance?  How is resistance intertwined with modification and accommodation?  Is it effective to try to ‘prove’ the humanity and rationality of colonized peoples?  Can pro-colonial forces be convinced by rational argumentation?  When might a ‘defense’ of indigenous cultures become exoticism?  Can effective forms of resistance be propagated from commercialized cultural productions?  Given that no indigenous community is today free from Euro-American influence, what kind of autonomy or self-determination is possible?  To the extent that diasporic and other new forms of identity are the product of colonialism, what are the ‘identity politics’ of decolonial resistance?  If the claims of universalism made of behalf of Occidental macro-narratives are bankrupt, are we left only with ‘local histories’ and particularist politics?  In an era of late global capitalism, when colonial power and market fundamentalism are inseperable, what counts as effective rhetoric?  (2)
  • Baca describes this work as a place where “divergent rationalities and memories converge” (4).  What does this say about the historical rhetorical work going on in this piece?
  • Nepantla – a Nahuatl concept that refers to the interspace in between Indigenous, Iberian, and neo-African epistemological and textual traditions.


1.       What is meant by “rhetorics” in the title of this edited collection?  If we go by the sorts of inquiries and arguments provided in the chapter-by-chapter overview, how might we define rhetoric as an organizing principle in this book?

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