Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters


In this article, the author analyzes a scheme of laws in Arizona regarding immigration and Latinos by using the powerful tools of contemporary critical theory, which have been especially developed to analyze issues of race such as those presented in the laws at issue. As discussed below, critical theory, as applied to Arizona, reveals (1) that the newly enacted scheme of laws reflects an epistemology of whiteness and operates to transform Arizona into a white geographical landscape; (2) that the outlawing of ethnic studies in Arizona is a corollary to the establishment of a white geographical space in Arizona; (3) that legal decision-making regarding the Arizona immigration law is explained by interest convergence theory especially as reflected in the federal government's concern about the Arizona law's impact on international relations; (4) that Arizona's effort to escape the reach of international law is explainable by state-of-nature theory and that theoretical work on the changing nature of the American constitutional order, which holds that our country is shifting from a nation state into a market state, shows that this effort will not succeed; (5) that to the extent that Arizona's laws have been enacted to preserve American culture, the laws are wrongheaded and will fail; (6) that Arizona's new legal regime provides evidence to support a new power threat theory that the dominant group will impose legal controls on Latinos as the Latino population grows in size; and (7) that it would appear to be premature to conclude that the Arizona legal regime is the first step toward establishing apartheid in America.

Publication Title

Arizona State Law Journal

Document Type



Arizona – immigration laws, race, Latinos, assimilation, whiteness, critical theory, state-of-nature theory



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