Color outside the line : Liminality and Creole identity in Louisiana, colonial era to reconstruction
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This work examines the construction of racial and caste identity in Louisiana, from the French and Spanish colonial period through Reconstruction. Using painted portraits of Louisiana's mixed race caste of free people of color, this dissertation argues that Creoles of color utilized art as a means of actively constructing their identity as elite, educated, and politically savvy members of Louisiana's social hierarchy. In so doing, this caste used art to resist the dominant Anglo-American racial binary in favor of the more nuanced Latin conception of race. Therefore art, and more specifically portraiture, was a tool to circulate Creoles of color's self-conception as equal citizens, and cultural affiliations with white Creoles within the state. Consequently, portraits of this caste managed to subvert the dominant American racial ideology.
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