"Progressive Scientism: Paul Schuster Taylor and the Making of Mexican Labor in the United States" and "Out-Imagining the Other: Spanish Perceptions of the Dutch in the Seventeenth-Century Atlantic World"
Schultz, Kara Danielle
I am submitting two theses. "Progressive Scientism" provides an intellectual biography of labor economist Paul Schuster Taylor, author of one of the first studies of Mexican life and labor in the United States. I examine Taylor’s eleven-volume Mexican Labor in the United States as well as his personal papers housed in the Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley in order to investigate how social scientists trained by Progressives adapted to the social scientific culture of the 1920s and 1930s that emphasized objectivity and the researcher’s distance from the practical application of research. I argue that Taylor’s work exemplifies the coexistence of Progressive thought with the new scientism that engaged the American social scientific academy. I also explore how the social sciences began to understand Mexican Americans as a group meriting scholarly research. Though Taylor himself was sympathetic to the plight of Mexican Americans, his insistence upon objectivity elided his goal of engaging federal attention. Mexican Americans continued to be ignored by both the American academy and the federal government until both “rediscovered” Mexican Americans in the 1960s, largely as the result of Mexican American political mobilization. In "Out-Imagining the Other," I analyze Inquisition records, correspondence, letters from Spanish officials stationed throughout the Iberian Atlantic World, maps, and printed pamphlets in order to understand Spanish views of the Dutch in the seventeenth century. The Dutch are often marginalized in Atlantic history because it is traditionally believed that Dutch Atlantic commercial and shipping activities paled in comparison to their endeavors in East Asia. Comparison with the Spanish, furthermore, is not typical because, from the perspective of the historian, the Dutch Atlantic Empire never rivaled the Spanish in terms of size or population. In the documents I examine in this thesis, descriptions of the Dutch as “enemies” looming just beyond Spanish ports stood in tandem with representations of the Spanish monarchy as “invincible,” while desperate pleas for assistance from the Spanish crown contrasted assertions that divine providence was on the side of the Catholic Spanish. These representations testify to what Kris Lane has termed the “out imagining of the other” that often occurred in the Atlantic world, a region in which claims to power over native peoples, the landscape, and other Europeans were tenuous at best.