Narratives like The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murieta, the Celebrated California Bandit provide us with a basis for understanding the ways that popular culture in its most general sense– as the culture of the popular classes, i.e., the people– dramatize and question socio-historical forces.
One of the roots of the land-grab that we’ve come to call the Mexican-American War concerns the spread of chattel slavery and the maintenance of the political and economic powers of the slaver class. The Republic of Texas was founded by slave-owners who wouldn’t abide by Mexican law, which in 1829 outlawed chattel slavery.
The link and images below may help you in reading Sherlock Holmes. It depends, I suppose, on the extent to which you pursue a Said-ian reading. Remember to think not only about socio-historical context— what is represented and left unrepresented– but also formal elements of detective fiction. What form does evidence take? What methods of “ratiocination” are in play? Are the narrative tactics described by Bennett (in Pyrhönen‘s essay) being utilized? (Can you remember what they are? You were asked about them on Thursday.)
Here’s a rough, historical and theoretical exposition of the concepts of imperialism and colonialism. These are basically lecture notes: