Charros: How Mexican Cowboys Are Remapping Race and American Identity

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Univ of California Press, Jun 4, 2019 - History - 304 pages
In the American imagination, no figure is more central to national identity and the nation’s origin story than the cowboy. Yet the Americans and Europeans who settled the U.S. West learned virtually everything they knew about ranching from the indigenous and Mexican horsemen who already inhabited the region. The charro—a skilled, elite, and landowning horseman—was an especially powerful symbol of Mexican masculinity and nationalism. After the 1930s, Mexican Americans in cities across the U.S. West embraced the figure as a way to challenge their segregation, exploitation, and marginalization from core narratives of American identity. In this definitive history, Laura R. Barraclough shows how Mexican Americans have used the charro in the service of civil rights, cultural citizenship, and place-making. Focusing on a range of U.S. cities, Charros traces the evolution of the “original cowboy” through mixed triumphs and hostile backlashes, revealing him to be a crucial agent in the production of U.S., Mexican, and border cultures, as well as a guiding force for Mexican American identity and social movements.
 
 

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Contents

Lienzo charro arena used for Mexican rodeo
28
Jinete deyegua bronc riding
34
Claiming State Power in MidTwentiethCentury
39
Waiting for a parade in East Los Angeles 1951
55
Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz with his horse late 1950s
63
Building San Antonios Postwar Tourist Economy
69
Tailor making custom charro suits in San Antonio 1949
76
Creating Multicultural Public Institutions
97
Claiming Suburban Public Space and Transforming
133
Members of the Charros La Alteña outside Los Angeless Mission
154
Shaping Animal Welfare Laws and Becoming
164
Advertisement in Las Vegas for the World Series of Charrería 2013
187
Notes
201
Bibliography
245
Index
261
Copyright

Denver Charro Association 1972
105

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About the author (2019)

Laura R. Barraclough is the Sarai Ribicoff Associate Professor of American Studies at Yale University. She is the author of Making the San Fernando Valley: Rural Landscapes, Urban Development, and White Privilege and coauthor of A People’s Guide to Los Angeles.

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