In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Borderlands

  • Introduction
  • Anthologies
  • Border Assemblages
  • Bordered Crossings
  • Borders of Citizenship
  • Bordering on Foundational
  • Borders of Indigeneity
  • Borders of Militarization and Policing
  • New Borders of Violence
  • Gendering Borders
  • Mexico’s Borders
  • Undocumented Identities
  • Borders of Theory
  • Thickening Borders
  • Other Borders
  • Decolonizing Borders

Latino Studies Borderlands
Gilberto Rosas
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 April 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 19 March 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199913701-0038


Paradoxically cast as material and imaginary; utopic and dystopic; militarized and peaceful; masculine and feminine; and white, brown, and Other, Latinos hold long-standing concerns regarding borders and their representations and possibilities. Indeed the term “borderlands” offers the promise of disrupting stagnating debates on identity. It likewise holds the pitfalls of becoming subject to appropriation sans the anchor of long-standing identity politics. Indeed, these tensions infuse competing approaches to the border, those who take the materiality of the international boundary between the United States and Mexico as a point of departure versus those who take borders in all their permutations as instigating new mediations of difference and broad new cultural imaginaries. Feminists, critical race scholars, Chicano and Latino scholars, and scholars vested in questions of decoloniality have used metaphorical renderings of the border as points of departure. They contrast sharply with those who see it as a site of violent subjugation and oppression. Borders are of particular import as border controls and undocumented border crossings have intensified across the globe during the long moment of neoliberal globalization and particularly following 11 September 2001. Many works, of course, draw from both these currents. In this respect, the vast interdisciplinary nature of the scholarship and the heavy influence of intersectionality, or the notion that race, class, and gender intertwine complexly and are mutually reinforcing, render such categorization fraught if not problematic.


Given their multiple contributors and their respective frameworks, these volumes defy easy categorization and characterization. Aldama and Quiñonez 2002 charts post-9/11 securityscapes enveloping Chicanos and Others in the borderlands. Kaplan, et al. 1999 captures the anxieties about the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and similar liberalization of trade in the Americas. De Genova and Peutz 2010 offers a global view of the new techniques of deportation that migrants face. Dzidzienyo and Oboler 2005 charts the complex relations between Latin American migrants in the United States and African Americans. Michaelsen and Johnson 1997 explores the stakes and tensions surrounding theories of the US-Mexico border and its representations. Pallares and Flores-González 2010 attests to how the borderlands have thickened to Chicago, in the authors’ complex mapping of immigrant Chicago and its mobilizations. Ross 1979 reflects one instantiation of the legacy of Américo Paredes and the Texas school of border scholarship. Segura and Zavella 2007 covers the vast terrain and paradoxes of gender, sexuality, violence, and regulation in the US-Mexico borderlands.

  • Aldama, Arturo J., and Naomi H. Quiñonez, eds. Decolonial Voices: Chicana and Chicano Cultural Studies in the 21st Century. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002.

    An interdisciplinary collection of essays drawing on a range of frameworks, from Foucaultian to feminist, that situate Chicano studies and Chicano cultural productions with the then-emerging post-9/11 securityscapes and the resulting anxieties about racialized, diasporic, and subalternized populations.

  • De Genova, Nicholas, and Nathalie Mae Peutz, eds. The Deportation Regime: Sovereignty, Space, and the Freedom of Movement. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010.

    This anthology captures new regimes of deportations, incarceration, policing, and related exclusions and the accompanying anxieties about Others. Certain works explore how migrants and their allies grapple with these new state technologies.

  • Dzidzienyo, Anani, and Suzanne Oboler, eds. Neither Enemies nor Friends: Latinos, Blacks, Afro-Latinos. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

    An innovative work that details how, to understand the experiences of present-day Latinos in the United States, it is essentially necessary, perhaps fundamental, to inquire into how the United States has historically dominated, racialized, and discriminated against Mexicans, Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, and African Americans. These dynamics set the stage for how the United States racializes later Latin American immigrants.

  • Kaplan, Caren, Norma Alarcón, and Minoo Moallem, eds. Between Woman and Nation: Nationalisms, Transnational Feminisms, and the State. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

    This anthology explores how rhetorics of margins and centers speak to the initial phases of postcolonial theory. The collection charts how NAFTA and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) have produced rhetorics of borders and hybridities that are juxtaposed to the totalizations of states and their boundaries. The authors draw on feminist sensibilities and experiences.

  • Michaelsen, Scott, and David E. Johnson, eds. Border Theory: The Limits of Cultural Politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.

    This critical anthology intervenes in the debates on what has come to be called border theory and criticism. This entry and the multiple and compelling pieces in it could very well be situated in the Borders of Theory section.

  • Pallares, Amalia, and Nilda Flores-González, eds. ¡Marcha! Latino Chicago and the Immigrant Rights Movement. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2010.

    This reader includes chapters on institutions such as churches, schools, and trade unions, from which many of the 2006 mobilizations in Chicago took shape. A key conclusion that can be drawn from the chapters included in ¡Marcha! is that the 2006 mobilizations were not spontaneous. Rather, they were the consequence of years of initiatives taken by a diverse array of individuals and organizations at different scales.

  • Ross, Stanley R., ed. Views across the Border: The United States and Mexico. Papers presented at a conference in April 1975 in San Antonio. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1979.

    An anthology of the scholarship of cultural production and an analysis of the Texas-Mexico border.

  • Segura, Denise A., and Patricia Zavella, eds. Women and Migration in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007.

    A compelling and significant interdisciplinary collection of primarily Latina authors that tracks the multiple significations of US-Mexico migration, the US-Mexico border, gender, class, and ethnoracial relations.

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