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Border Identities Project 2050 2006. A border is…… “an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of another” Ambrose Bierce. An elastic geo-cultural landscape:. El Norte La Línea The Southwest Aztlán The Frontier

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border identities project 2050 2006
Border IdentitiesProject 20502006

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

slide2
A border is……

“an imaginary line between

two nations, separating the

imaginary rights of one

from the imaginary rights

of another”

Ambrose Bierce

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

an elastic geo cultural landscape
An elastic geo-cultural landscape:
  • El Norte
  • La Línea
  • The Southwest
  • Aztlán
  • The Frontier
  • Desert Country
  • The Margin
  • The Edge

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

a meeting place of
Two countries

Two cultures

Two ways of life

Two levels of consumption

Two infrastructures

A meeting place of:

Inherent inequality

Inherent opportunity

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

the border is both
“Hard” realities:

politics

economics

legislation

demographics

environment

law enforcement

national security

The border is both:

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

slide6
“Soft” expressions:

language

emotions

rituals

art

work

memory

community

hope

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

the border is a tangible artifact imposed upon the human populations and the natural geography
The Border is… “a tangible artifact imposed upon the human populations and the natural geography”

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

the border is an intercultural world unto itself
The Border is…“an intercultural world unto itself”

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

views of the border
Views of the Border:
  • Romantic:

“something falls off you when you cross the border into Mexico, and suddenly the landscape hits you with nothing between it, desert and mountains and vultures”

William Burroughs

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

slide10
Harsh

“On the US side everything was calm and reassuring, everything uniform….on the other side, a swarming mysterious world where furtive figures prowled on every corner of darkness and one sensed human heat, and gestures, and whispers.”

Georges Simenon

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

views of the border11
Views of the Border:
  • Parody:

“Americans have not looked for a Mexico in Mexico; they have looked for their obsessions, enthusiasms, phobias, hopes, interests---and these are what they have found”

Octavio Paz

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

the border happens in and through
State Power

Imagination

Desire

Folk Life

Work

The border “happens” in and through

Gender

Sex

Race

Class

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

the border produces
The border produces…

Millions of workers essential to the economic machines of North American agriculture, tourism, and industry: farmworkers, low-tech labor, dishwashers, gardeners, maids…..

but also a military machine of low-intensity conflict: INS helicopters, Border Patrol agents, infrared cameras, detention centers, books of regulations…

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

border is also a discourse of sadness
Border is also….a discourse of sadness

Violence and death are dimensions of everyday life in the border that receive a lot of attention

Women of Juarez

Desert Crossers

Drug-related deaths

Toxic illnesses

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

factual border matters
2,000 mile stretch

4 U.S. states

(CA, AZ, NM, TX)

6 Mexican states

(BC, SON, CH, COH, NL, TML)

60 mile zone from the line on each side

Natural barriers: Rio Grande, Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts

Factual Border Matters

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

population
12 million people in border region

On U.S. side: 19% below poverty line (13% nationally)

On U.S. side: 50% are “Hispanic”

Mexico: border states’ poverty rate is 28% (37% nationally)

In TX and NM: 300,000 people live in 1,300 “colonias”

12 million people living in US illegally

Approximately 6.2 million (56%) are from Mexico

Population
  • Health problems:
  • Sanitation
  • Pollution
  • Movement
  • Access

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

crossings
Most frequently crossed international border in the world:

350 million people cross legally every year --- 1 million cross illegally

45% agricultural workers in US are here illegally

12,000 trucks cross border daily (up 63% since 1994 when NAFTA was enacted)

Crossings
  • 660, 000 people cross every day legally
  • 35 points of entry
  • 20% crossing into US are on foot
  • In 2004, pedestrian crossing in Texas
  • alone was 20 million

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

economy
US is Mexico’s # 1 trading partner

Mexico is US’s # 2 trading partner

$795 million traded every day

2,7000 maquiladoras in Mex. Border states

Average maquiladora salary: $45 per week

Economy

Average maquiladora work week: 48 hours

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

historical border
Historical Border:

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

chronology of a fence
1819

Adams- Onis Treaty

between Spain and US

1821

Mexican Independence

Mexico permits Texas settlement

1836

Texas Independence

1846

Mexico-US War

Chronology of a Fence:

1848: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

1853: Gadsden Purchase

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

slide21
1849

Gold discovered in CA

1882

Chinese Exclusionary Act

(railroad and mining workers)

1904

Border Patrol established

1910

Mexican Revolution begins

1921

Immigration Act (Quotas)

1924

Border stations established

1942

Bracero Program

1948

Mexican-American GI Forum

1953

Operation Wetback deports 3.8 million

1962

Cesar Chavez organizes farm workers in Delano, CA

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

slide22
1964

First Maquiladoras (BIP)

Bracero Program repealed

1965

Immigration and Naturalization Act

(family reunification / skills)

1982

Peso devaluation crisis in MX

1986

IRCA (hiring of illegal aliens a crime)

1994

NAFTA enacted

Zapatista Army rebellion

Operation Gatekeeper

1996

Immigration Reform Act

*BP agents: 11,000 (89% at US- Mex border)

*Bush: at the end of 2008, 6,000 more agents

*2005: 473 migrant deaths; 2,570 rescued

*Surveillance includes: electronic sensors,

night vision scopes, aircraft, ground vehicles

*Current security contract RFP: $ 2 billion

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

major arguments against immigration
Major arguments Against Immigration

--Security

--Taxes

--Crime

--Welfare

--Jobs

--Ecology

--Language

--Culture

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

major arguments for immigration
Major arguments For Immigration

--Remittances (12 Billion)

--Globalization -Jobs

--Family

--Wealth Disparity

--History

--Exploitation/Crime

--Culture

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

words can t hurt me
Words can’t hurt me…?
  • Illegal alien? (beaner?)
  • Illegal immigrant? (wetback?)
  • Undocumented worker? (greaser?)
  • OTM: “Other than Mexican”

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

effects of criminalization discourse
Effects of criminalization discourse:
  • Create “class” of persons,

--legal

--illegal

  • Social reality vs. legal status
  • Emphasis on control
  • Rise of oppositional moral discourse:

--deserving v. undeserving

--just v. unjust deportations

  • Administrative apparatus to “unmake” illegality

Mae Ngai:,

Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

the border is a place but it is also an idea
The border is a place…but it is also an idea…

Some people think “border” is a perfect metaphor to talk about identity….

Some people think “border” is a perfect metaphor to talk about the conditions that frame life in the world today…

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

border v borderlands
Border v. Borderlands

“A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge….

A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary…”

Gloria Anzaldúa

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

for anzald a there are two border territories
For Anzaldúa, there are two “border territories”

“The actual physical borderland that I am dealing with…is the US Southwest-Mexican border… The psychological borderlands, the sexual borderlands and the spiritual borderlands are not particular to the Southwest…..in fact….

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

slide30
…the Borderlands are physically present wherever two or more cultures edge each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle and upper classes touch, where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy…”

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, 1987

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

what is a metaphor
What is a “metaphor”?

“He is a pig”

  • A figure of speech
  • Comparison of two seemingly unrelated subjects/things
  • Uses forms of the verb “to be”
  • Does not use “like” or “as”

“My house is a prison”

“Scratching at the window with claws of

pine, the wind wants in”

“What a thrill –my thumb instead of

an onion…

A celebration this is…

out of a gap

a million soldiers run,

redcoats every one.”

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

why metaphor
Why metaphor?
  • Metaphors are pervasive in everyday life
  • Our ordinary conceptual system is fundamentally metaphorical in nature
  • One way to see this is by looking at language
  • Metaphors structure how we perceive, think, act

*A Concept: argument

*Conceptual Metaphor: argument is war

*Everyday Language: “He attacked every point;” “I’ve never won an argument

with you;” “She shot down all my points;” “His criticism was right on target”

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

metaphors
Metaphors….
  • Enliven ordinary language
  • Encourage interpretation
  • Maximum meaning with minimum words
  • Create new meanings
  • Express things for which there are no easy words

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

guillermo gomez pe a s border metaphors
Guillermo Gomez-Peña’s border metaphors:

“I live smack in the fissure between two worlds, in the infected wound…. ….”

Worksheet # 1:

What meanings are conveyed

By G-P’s metaphors?

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

too much metaphor
Too much metaphor?

Anthropologist Alejandro Lugo thinks the phrase “border crossing” as a metaphor for identity has become “overly optimistic.”

“Border inspections” are actually more pervasive than “border crossings” in the lives of most people at the physical border.

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

luis alfaro s border dilemmas
Luis Alfaro’s “border dilemmas”

I am a Queer Chicano

A native in no land

An orphan of Aztlan

The pocho son of farm worker parents

The Mexicans only want me

when they want me to

talk about Mexico

But what about

Mexican Queers in LA?

The Queers only want me

when they need

to add color

add spice

like salsa picante

on the side

With one foot

on each side

of the border

not the border

between Mexico

and the United States

but the border between

Nationality and Sexuality

I search for a home in both

yet neither one believes

that I exist.

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

what kinds of border inspections and border crossings have you experienced
What kinds of “border inspections”and “border crossings”have you experienced?

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

slide38
Can “the border” withstand being a buzzword for theories of power, struggle, and connection?

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

developing a critical conscience about uses of metaphor
Developing a critical conscience about uses of metaphor….
  • What kinds of issues are border metaphors useful for?
  • Are there instances in which this metaphor is not helpful?

Dr. Maribel Alvarez, University of Arizona, September 2006

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