Reviving the Nomad: Racialized Wandering in Disneyland

Alissa Cartwright

Abstract


ln the postwar period, from its opening in 1955 until the late 1960's, Disneyland held great cultural significance to the psyche of Americans entrenched in the Cold War. The disappearance of the western frontier and the proliferation of racially homogenous suburbs during this era limited the ability of white Americans in particular to participate in racialized nomadic wandering. This paper will argue that Disneyland situated this wandering within the context of imagination and perpetuated it on a mass level. Ostensibly nomadic Indigenous peoples, as well as the natural landscapes associated with them, were held in an historical stasis in Disneyland. This allowed white Americans- the real nomads- to imaginatively explore manipulated Indigenous cultures, even as the mainstream values Disney promoted continued to psychologicaly anchor and comfort white Americans.


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