front cover of Dancing across Borders
Dancing across Borders
Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos
Edited by Olga Najera-Ramirez, Norma E. Cantu, and Brenda M. Romero
University of Illinois Press, 2009
Dancing across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos focuses specifically on Mexican dance practices on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The essays explore various types of Mexican popular and traditional dances and address questions of authenticity, aesthetics, identity, interpretation, and research methodologies in dance performance. Contributors include not only noted scholars from a variety of disciplines but also several dance practitioners who reflect on their engagement with dance and reveal subtexts of dance culture. Capturing dance as a living expression, the volume's ethnographic approach highlights the importance of the cultural and social contexts in which dances are practiced.

Contributors are Norma E. Cantú, Susan Cashion, María Teresa Ceseña, Xóchitl C. Chávez, Adriana Cruz-Manjarrez, Renée de la Torre Castellanos, Peter J. García, Rudy F. García, Chris Goertzen, Martha González, Elisa Diana Huerta, Sydney Hutchinson, Marie "Keta" Miranda, Olga Nájera-Ramírez, Shakina Nayfack, Russell Rodríguez, Brenda M. Romero, Nancy Lee Chalfa Ruyter, José Sánchez Jiménez, and Alberto Zárate Rosales.


front cover of Dead in Their Tracks
Dead in Their Tracks
Crossing America’s Desert Borderlands in the New Era
John Annerino
University of Arizona Press, 2009
Alarmed by breaking news reports of thirteen men, women, and children who died of thirst on American soil—and twenty-two other human beings saved by Border Patrol rescue teams—John Annerino left the cool pines of his mountain retreat and journeyed into one of the most inhospitable places on earth, the heart of the 4,100-square-mile “empty quarter” that straddles the desolate corner of southwest Arizona and northwest Sonora, Mexico.

During the Sonoran Desert’s glorious and brutal summer season Annerino, a photojournalist, author, and explorer, watched four border crossers step off a bus and nonchalantly head into the American no-man’s land. On assignment for Newsweek, Annerino did more than just watch on that blistering August day. He joined them on their ultramarathon, life-or-death quest to find work to feed their families, amid temperatures so hot your parched throat burns from breathing and drinking water is the ultimate treasure.
As their water dwindled and the heat punished them, Annerino and the desperate men continued marching fifty miles in twenty-four hours and managed to survive their harrowing journey across the deadliest migrant trail in North America, El Camino del Diablo, “The Road of the Devil.” Driven by the mounting death toll, John returned again and again to the sun-scorched despoblado (uninhabited lands)—where hidden bighorn sheep water tanks glowed like diamonds—to document the lives, struggles, and heartbreaking remains of those who continue to disappear and perish in a region that’s claimed the lives of more than 9,700 men, women, and children.
Following the historic paths of indigenous Hia Ced O’odham (People of the Sand), Spanish missionary explorer Padre Eusebio Francisco Kino, and California-bound Forty-Niners, Annerino’s journeys on foot, crisscrossed the alluring yet treacherous desert trails of the El Camino del Diablo, Hohokam shell trail, and O’odham salt trails where hundreds of gambusinos (Mexican miners) and Euro-American pioneers succumbed during the 1850s.
As the migrants kept coming, the deaths kept mounting, and Annerino kept returning. He crossed celebrated Sonoran Desert sanctuaries—Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, Barry M. Goldwater Range, sacred ancestral lands of the Tohono O’odham—that had become lost horizons, killing grounds, graveyards, and deadly smuggling corridors that also claimed the lives of National Park rangers and Border Patrol agents. John Annerino’s mission was to save someone, anyone, everyone—when he could find them.
Dead in Their Tracks is the saga of a merciless despoblado in the Great Southwest, of desperate yet hopeful migrants and refugees who keep staggering north. It is the story of ranchers, locals, and Border Patrol trackers who’ve saved countless lives, and heavily armed smugglers who haunt an inhospitable, if beautiful, wilderness that remains off the radar for journalists and news organizations that dare not set foot in the American desert waiting to welcome them on its terms.

front cover of Desierto
Memories of the Future
By Charles Bowden, foreword by William deBuys
University of Texas Press, 2018

“A dark, troubling vision of life in the desert, defined broadly; of mountain lions and drug kingpins, Mexican hopes and Indian feuds.”
Los Angeles Times

“In these powerful epic tales of the Sonora Desert, Bowden peoples the harsh land on both sides of the US-Mexican border with saints and sinners, but his enduring hero is the desert itself.”
Kirkus Reviews


front cover of Disrupting Savagism
Disrupting Savagism
Intersecting Chicana/o, Mexican Immigrant, and Native American Struggles for Self-Representation
Arturo J. Aldama
Duke University Press, 2001
Colonial discourse in the United States has tended to criminalize, pathologize, and depict as savage not only Native Americans but Mexican immigrants, indigenous peoples in Mexico, and Chicanas/os as well. While postcolonial studies of the past few decades have focused on how these ethnicities have been constructed by others, Disrupting Savagism reveals how each group, in turn, has actively attempted to create for itself a social and textual space in which certain negative prevailing discourses are neutralized and rendered ineffective.
Arturo J. Aldama begins by presenting a genealogy of the term “savage,” looking in particular at the work of American ethnologist Lewis Henry Morgan and a sixteenth-century debate between Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda and Bartolomé de las Casas. Aldama then turns to more contemporary narratives, examining ethnography, fiction, autobiography, and film to illuminate the historical ideologies and ethnic perspectives that contributed to identity formation over the centuries. These works include anthropologist Manuel Gamio’s The Mexican Immigrant: His Life Story, Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony, Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera, and Miguel Arteta’s film Star Maps. By using these varied genres to investigate the complex politics of racialized, subaltern, feminist, and diasporic identities, Aldama reveals the unique epistemic logic of hybrid and mestiza/o cultural productions.
The transcultural perspective of Disrupting Savagism will interest scholars of feminist postcolonial processes in the United States, as well as students of Latin American, Native American, and literary studies.

front cover of Divided Peoples
Divided Peoples
Policy, Activism, and Indigenous Identities on the U.S.-Mexico Border
Christina Leza
University of Arizona Press, 2019
The border region of the Sonoran Desert, which spans southern Arizona in the United States and northern Sonora, Mexico, has attracted national and international attention. But what is less discussed in national discourses is the impact of current border policies on the Native peoples of the region. There are twenty-six tribal nations recognized by the U.S. federal government in the southern border region and approximately eight groups of Indigenous peoples in the United States with historical ties to Mexico—the Yaqui, the O’odham, the Cocopah, the Kumeyaay, the Pai, the Apaches, the Tiwa (Tigua), and the Kickapoo.

Divided Peoples addresses the impact border policies have on traditional lands and the peoples who live there—whether environmental degradation, border patrol harassment, or the disruption of traditional ceremonies. Anthropologist Christina Leza shows how such policies affect the traditional cultural survival of Indigenous peoples along the border. The author examines local interpretations and uses of international rights tools by Native activists, counterdiscourse on the U.S.-Mexico border, and challenges faced by Indigenous border activists when communicating their issues to a broader public.

Through ethnographic research with grassroots Indigenous activists in the region, the author reveals several layers of division—the division of Indigenous peoples by the physical U.S.-Mexico border, the divisions that exist between Indigenous perspectives and mainstream U.S. perspectives regarding the border, and the traditionalist/nontraditionalist split among Indigenous nations within the United States. Divided Peoples asks us to consider the possibilities for challenging settler colonialism both in sociopolitical movements and in scholarship about Indigenous peoples and lands.

front cover of Drug War Zone
Drug War Zone
Frontline Dispatches from the Streets of El Paso and Juárez
By Howard Campbell
University of Texas Press, 2009

Winner, Southwest Book Award, Border Regional Library Association, 2011

Thousands of people die in drug-related violence every year in Mexico. Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, adjacent to El Paso, Texas, has become the most violent city in the Mexican drug war. Much of the cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine consumed in the United States is imported across the Mexican border, making El Paso/Juárez one of the major drug-trafficking venues in the world.

In this anthropological study of drug trafficking and anti-drug law enforcement efforts on the U.S.-Mexico border, Howard Campbell uses an ethnographic perspective to chronicle the recent Mexican drug war, focusing especially on people and events in the El Paso/Juárez area. It is the first social science study of the violent drug war that is tearing Mexico apart.

Based on deep access to the drug-smuggling world, this study presents the drug war through the eyes and lives of direct participants. Half of the book consists of oral histories from drug traffickers, and the other half from law enforcement officials. There is much journalistic coverage of the drug war, but very seldom are the lived experiences of traffickers and "narcs" presented in such vivid detail. In addition to providing an up-close, personal view of the drug-trafficking world, Campbell explains and analyzes the functioning of drug cartels, the corruption that facilitates drug trafficking, the strategies of smugglers and anti-narcotics officials, and the perilous culture of drug trafficking that Campbell refers to as the "Drug War Zone."


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Dry Place
Landscapes Of Belonging And Exclusion
Patricia L. Price
University of Minnesota Press, 2004

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