American Ugly: Appearance and Aesthetics in Cultures of U.S. by Tracy Anne Sachtjen

By Tracy Anne Sachtjen

This venture brings jointly an research of local heritage, commercial capitalism, and U.S. empire to argue that ugliness---much greater than a personal problem among someone and her mirror---became a mode of justifying keep watch over over the folks and areas reworked by way of the industrial approaches of nineteenth-century growth. This dissertation engages ugliness as a ancient formation to investigate how its repeated invocation in well known cultures supplied a simple avatar of awful distinction opposed to which a nationalist physique should be respected. Ugliness precise a physique so misplaced or outpaced through sleek beliefs that exclusion turned the answer to nationalized clash. during this approach, metaphors of visual appeal and aesthetic price buttressed the existing rhetoric of growth. This undertaking contributes to the learn of nationalist formation and embodiment through illuminating gender as a prop for racial abjection.

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Women's History, ed. Ellen Carol DuBois and Vicki L. S. Women's History, ed. Ellen Carol DuBois and Vicki L. Ruiz (New York: Routledge, 2000), 565586. 8 "Society, Sophisticates, and a Highly Modernized Fountain of Youth," Time, March 3, 1923; "Gertrude Atherton's Dishevelled [sic] Work," New York Times, February 15, 1896. On Social Darwinism, see Stephen Jay Gould, The Mismeasure of Man (New York: Norton, 1981); Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992); Mike Hawkins, Social Darwinism in European and American Thought, 1860-1945: Nature as Model and Nature as Threat (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

Hands formed the setting for the stories she wrote at the turn of the century, including Los Cerritos: A Romance of the Modern Time (1890); The Californians (1898); The Splendid Idle Forties, Stories of Old California (1902); and California: An Intimate History (1914). I first study the figures of mixedrace Indian, Californiana, Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo characters as they represented the difficult turn to modernity. For Dorthe, Magdalena, and Carmelita, three characters who embodied the success or failure of Americanization on local populations, becoming modern hinged on their ability to overcome what Anglo American mythology held as the savage or indolent natures of Indians and Spaniards, respectively.

This evaluation took shape through three primary innovations. First, ugliness and beauty were present in every encounter as Atherton's preferred method of symbolizing the difference between savagery and civilization, lethargy and industry, and instinct and rationality. In this dyad, Indians were always ugly, while European blood Spanish priests or explorers, British aristocrats, Anglo American land developers, even the "Spanish" Californios - was beautiful. If not always glamorous, Europeans were attractive and never resembled the horrifying triptych of beast, heathen and human attributed to Indians.

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