An American Language
The History of Spanish in the United States
University of California Press 2018
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in LanguageNew Books in Latino StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in the American WestNew Books Network May 28, 2018 David-James Gonzales
In An American Language: The History of Spanish in the United States (University of California Press, 2018), Rosina Lozano details the entangled relationship between language and notions of individual, community, and national belonging in the U.S. Through an innovative analysis of Spanish-language newspapers, territorial and municipal records, federal officials’ correspondence, Senate hearings, election results, and so much more, Dr. Lozano eloquently explains how the Spanish language moved from one essential to the governance of the Southwest during the transition from Mexican to U.S. rule in the mid-to-late 19th century to one of foreignness by the mid-20th century. Whereas much of the existing scholarship on the U.S. Southwest narrates the history of the region through the lenses of conquest and ethno-racial conflict and marginalization, Lozano provides new insight into the central role played by treaty citizens—the former residents of Mexico in California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona—as, they pressed for language and political rights in the expanding U.S. nation-state. Meticulously researched, beautifully written, and persuasively argued, An American Language uncovers the multilingual history of the U.S. while also questioning static and monolithic conceptions of what it means to be an American. This important work not only reorients our understanding of the past, but also carries profound implications for our present and future.
David-James Gonzales (DJ) is incoming Assistant Professor of History at Brigham Young University (Fall 2018). He is a historian of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, the development of multi-ethnic/racial cities, and the evolution of Latina/o identity and politics. His research centers on the relationship between Latina/o politics and the metropolitan development of Orange County, CA throughout the 20th century. You may follow him on Twitter @djgonzoPhD.