Bruno Anaya Ortiz

Job title: 
PhD Candidate

Bruno Anaya Ortiz is a fifth-year student in the Rhetoric Department.  His work is at the intersection of legal studies, political theory, and colonial studies.  His dissertation analyzes Spanish-American identity formations in Mexico and the US.  In Mexico, he analyzed how courts and the constitution define national identity in contradistinction to both ideas of “Indigenous peoples” and the “West.” He argues that this process re-articulates colonial categories that originated in Spain’s evangelical mission. In the US, he studies the changing vocabularies in which the law has incorporated Mexican-Americans into its racial categories. In the nineteenth century, courts hesitatingly folded Mexicans into the category of “White” for naturalization effects. More recently, the “Hispanic/Latino” pan-ethnic category has been construed as a “non-White” internal minority, for instance, in discrimination lawsuits.  Both in Mexico and the US, Spanish-American identity evinces a complex relationship with the majoritarian concept of “the West” but also with its various negations. In Mexico, national identity is neither “Indigenous” nor “Spanish”. In the US, Hispanic ethnicity is and is not culturally “White”.  Spanish-American identity is, therefore, both negation and extension of Europe and Spain. This ambivalence is its colonial legacy.