Sovereignty, Citizenship, and the US-Mexico Border Wall

Miguel Diaz-Barriga, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, and Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar, SAR; Margaret Ellen Dorsey, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, and Curator of the Border Studies Archive, University of Texas-Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, and Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar, SAR

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Miguel Diaz-BarrigaMiguel Diaz-Barriga2014 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar. Photograph by William Geoghegan.Margaret Ellen DorseyMargaret Ellen Dorsey2014 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar. Photograph by William Geoghegan.
Miguel Diaz-BarrigaMargaret Ellen Dorsey
2014 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholars.
Photographs courtesy of the scholars.

The global proliferation of border walls represents an attempt by nation-states to reinforce sovereignty in the face of globalization. Paradoxically, these attempts to secure national boundaries have diminished the sovereignty and rights of citizens who inhabit border regions. This presentation focuses on how Mexican-American and Native American residents of South Texas have protested, and in some cases negotiated, the design and placement of the US-Mexico border wall. Diaz-Barriga and Dorsey interpret border residents' perspectives on border wall construction in terms of an international and regional politics of sovereignty, citizenship, and rights. By looking at the variety of social actors with a stake in the border--cultural rights activists, environmentalists, business leaders, and immigration rights activists—they describe how the US-Mexico border wall has become a contested site of morality and law, national and ethnic identities, and integration into the nation-state.

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