Cultural Construction of Empire


Cultural Construction of Empire

The U.S. Army in Arizona and New Mexico

Janne Lahti

360 pages
9 photographs, 1 map


December 2012


$55.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

December 2012


$55.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

From 1866 through 1886, the U.S. Army occupied southern Arizona and New Mexico in an attempt to claim it for settlement by Americans. Through a postcolonial lens, Janne Lahti examines the army, its officers, their wives, and the enlisted men as agents of an American empire whose mission was to serve as a group of colonizers engaged in ideological as well as military, conquest.

Cultural Construction of Empire explores the cultural and social representations of Native Americans, Hispanics, and frontiersmen constructed by the officers, enlisted men, and their dependents. By differentiating themselves from these “less civilized” groups, white military settlers engaged various cultural processes and practices to accrue and exercise power over colonized peoples and places for the sake of creating a more “civilized” environment for other settlers. Considering issues of class, place, and white ethnicity, Lahti shows that the army’s construction of empire took place not on the battlefield alone but also in representations of and social interactions in and among colonial places, peoples, settlements, and events, and in the domestic realm and daily life inside the army villages.

Author Bio

Janne Lahti is an Academy of Finland’s postdoctoral researcher in general history at the University of Helsinki.


"Provocative."—Robert Wooster, Montana, The Magazine of Western History

"This is a useful book that should be read widely."—C. Joseph Genetin-Pilawa, Journal of American History

"Cultural Construction of Empire is an engaging and thought-provoking look at how the U.S. Army did as much to expand the American empire through its social and cultural bearing as it did on the battlefield. This s an important contribution to the history of the Southwest and U.S. Army."—Gary L. Cheatham, Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"Lahti has produced an excellent book, one that is richly researched, thoughtful, engaging, and nicely organized."—Daniel Herman, Journal of Arizona History

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations


Introduction: A Colonizer Community in the Borderlands

1. From Apacheria to American Southwest

2. Journey to the "Outside"

3. The Place Facing Colonialism

4. Apaches in White Army Minds

5. Army Village as Middle-Class Living Space

6. Manual Labor and Leisure

7. Colonized Labor

Conclusion: An Empire




Also of Interest