• August 4th, 2017

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Paper , Order, or Assignment Requirements

It is often thought today that the indigenous peoples of the Americas no longer exist or are a “dying” people. But this is far from true, as the Prayers music video “Mexica” powerfully asserts. In that video, the musical duo Prayers offer a narrative of cultural resistance to a traditional history of the Americas that erases indigenous presences, and it does so forcefully through formal musical qualities (drums, repeated bass riff, repeated “Mexica!”), through language (lots of “fuck” and other curses; quick tempo of the rap), through imagery (the skull warrior of the past dancing in LA amidst Chicanos of today; images of historic Chicano art and protest sites), and so on. “Mexica,” in other words,” is a word of resistance art, an art that stubbornly and emphatically resists the erasure and oppression felt by its creators, that channels resistance through art on behalf of the populations of marginalized people that the creators (seek to) represent.

Write a minimum 500-word essay discussing how Sesshu Foster’s novel Atomik Aztex acts as a form of resistance art against historical narratives that erase indigenous peoples’ presence in contemporary American life and in its long history, since 1492. What imagery, tactics of language, and stories does Foster use to “enliven” and revive the history of indigenous peoples, like the Aztex, for his readers? How does Foster’s Atomik Aztex respond to Eduardo Galeano’s notion of Latin America (a geopolitical region to which the Mexiko of the Aztex no doubt belongs) as “the region of open veins” (2)—first, what does Galeano mean; second, how does Foster respond? What do you make of the fact that the Aztex in Foster’s alternate history (or in one of the alternate possible worlds of the omniverse) are vicious slavers whose society purportedly runs on human sacrifice of Europian slaves? What point is Foster making, especially in connection with Galeano’s idea of Latin America’s “open veins”? How does Foster connect these events in the Aztek world to American history in his narrative? What, ultimately, does it mean to think about Cortés’s conquest (or not) of the Aztecs in 1521—and the earlier event of Columbus’s “discovery” of the Caribbeans in 1492—as a nexus point for “American” history when these events did not take place in the United States? Why do they matter to contemporary “Americans”?

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