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Extra info for Conquer and Colonize: Stevenson's Regiment and California

Example text

The oxymoron also remains blind to, hence complicitous with, the rhetorical slippages in Cabeza de Vaca’s texts where ideology (hegemonic will) gives way to violence (dominance) (cf. Guha ). Although toward the end of the Naufragios Cabeza de Vaca outlines an ideal form of imperialism and casts himself as an equally ideal servant of the Crown, it is the Comentarios, an account of Cabeza de Vaca’s political fiasco in the Río de la Plata written by his amanuensis Pero Hernández, that dwells at length on his efforts to enforce colonial law in a colonial outpost ruled by terror.

They examine issues pertaining to the culture of conquest, the mediation of the law, the aesthetics of colonial violence, the moralization of terror, the politics of authorship, and the symbolization of hatred. To the extent that the elucidation of the ‘‘culture of conquest’’ maps out conceptual complicities that haunt today’s writing on colonial discourses, we begin to understand that laws determine texts that organize the world for colonization. The ‘‘mediation of the law’’ enables us to avoid assessing degrees of justice (or, for that matter, comparing nations in terms of more or less benevolent colonial models) and attend to how the evolving bodies of law define styles of recording information, enable aesthetic representations of violence, and delimit the moralization of gratuitous acts of terror.

7 18:10 OCV:0 Scriptural Economy These two Tlatelolcan texts testify to the violence of writing in general but also to the subaltern subjects’ heterogeneity that all forms of colonial rule must foment, create, indeed depend on, to impose and perpetuate dominance. Writing entails power structures: writing as the memory of subordination, as the record of theft, as the erasure of culture, as the process of territorialization, and as the imposition of regimes of law, regardless of the type of script or form of representation.

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