Featuring dozens of compelling images, this transformative reading of borderland and Mexican cultural production—from body art to theater, photography, and architecture—draws on extensive primary research to trace more than two decades of social and political response in the aftermath of NAFTA.
Honorable Mention, Humanities Book Prize, Mexico Section of the Latin American Studies Association, 2018
Honorable Mention, Arvey Foundation Book Award, Association for Latin American Art, 2019
REMEX presents the first comprehensive examination of artistic responses and contributions to an era defined by the North American Free Trade Agreement (1994–2008). Marshaling over a decade’s worth of archival research, interviews, and participant observation in Mexico City and the Mexico–US borderlands, Amy Sara Carroll considers individual and collective art practices, recasting NAFTA as the most fantastical inter-American allegory of the turn of the millennium. Carroll organizes her interpretations of performance, installation, documentary film, built environment, and body, conceptual, and Internet art around three key coordinates—City, Woman, and Border. She links the rise of 1990s Mexico City art in the global market to the period’s consolidation of Mexico–US border art as a genre. She then interrupts this transnational art history with a sustained analysis of chilanga and Chicana artists’ remapping of the figure of Mexico as Woman.
A tour de force that depicts a feedback loop of art and public policy—what Carroll terms the “allegorical performative”—REMEX adds context to the long-term effects of the post-1968 intersection of D.F. performance and conceptualism, centralizes women artists’ embodied critiques of national and global master narratives, and tracks post-1984 border art’s “undocumentation” of racialized and sexualized reconfigurations of North American labor pools. The book’s featured artwork becomes the lens through which Carroll rereads a range of events and phenomenon from California’s Proposition 187 to Zapatismo, US immigration policy, 9/11 (1973/2001), femicide in Ciudad Juárez, and Mexico’s war on drugs.
Winner, William P. Clements Prize, Best Non-Fiction Book on Southwestern America, 2004
Not quite the United States and not quite Mexico, La Junta de los Rios straddles the border between Texas and Chihuahua, occupying the basin formed by the conjunction of the Rio Grande and the Rio Conchos. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the Chihuahuan Desert, ranking in age and dignity with the Anasazi pueblos of New Mexico.
In the first comprehensive history of the region, Jefferson Morgenthaler traces the history of La Junta de los Rios from the formation of the Mexico-Texas border in the mid-19th century to the 1997 ambush shooting of teenage goatherd Esquiel Hernandez by U.S. Marines performing drug interdiction in El Polvo, Texas. "Though it is scores of miles from a major highway, I found natives, soldiers, rebels, bandidos, heroes, scoundrels, drug lords, scalp hunters, medal winners, and mystics," writes Morgenthaler. "I found love, tragedy, struggle, and stories that have never been told." In telling the turbulent history of this remote valley oasis, he examines the consequences of a national border running through a community older than the invisible line that divides it.
Diverse influences transformed the borderlands as Spain, Mexico, and the United States competed for control of the region. Indian slaves joined Spanish society; Mexicans allied with Indians to defend river communities; Anglo Americans and Mexicans intermarried and collaborated; and women sued to confront spousal abuse and to secure divorces. Drawn into multiple conflicts along the border, Mexican nationals and Mexican Texans (tejanos) took advantage of their transnational social relations and ambiguous citizenship to escape criminal prosecution, secure political refuge, and obtain economic opportunities. To confront the racialization of their cultural practices and their increasing criminalization, tejanos claimed citizenship rights within the United States and, in the process, created a new identity.
Published in cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University.
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