Imagined Citizens: Ethnic Nationalisms and Crises of Culture in the United States, 1816-1856
Zuck, Rochelle Raineri
Doctor of Philosophy
Date of Defense:
November 01, 2007
Carla Mulford, Committee Chair/Co-Chair Robert Edwin Burkholder, Committee Member Hester Maureen Blum, Committee Member Stephen Howard Browne, Committee Member
American Indian African American ethnic citizenship nation American literature imperium in imperio
This project focuses on the formation of ethnic and racial nationalisms in nineteenth-century America. I argue that a specific rhetoric of imperium in imperio (frequently translated as â€œnation within a nationâ€) was used by disparate peoples to describe the collective identities of African Americans, American Indians, and certain immigrant groups. For white Americans, this rhetorical construction functioned during the antebellum period as a way to project sectional tensions onto the presence of a racial or ethnic â€œotherâ€ nation and to bring these groups more fully under U.S. jurisdiction. People of color and several immigrant groups engaged discourses of imperium in imperio to exert pressure on the political hegemony of the United States nation by expressing alternative ethnic and racial nationalities. Taking up moments that I call â€œcrises of culture,â€ my dissertation examines several major political and cultural crises of the nineteenth century: African Colonization (1816-1817), Cherokee Removal (1831), and the Kansas-Nebraska Act and Dred Scott Decision (1854 and 1856).