Dissent on the American Border

The US border with Mexico is a complex and shifting site of contestation, emotion, and fear. The border is geographically dispersed, reaching far into Central America and beyond. It is infused and continually re-shaped by history, politics, and theology. It is intensely securitized and deeply politicized, implicating race, religion, politics, and the natural and built environments. This seminar steps back from the frenzied atmosphere surrounding contemporary discussions of the border to examine a series of perspectives that often do not make it into the headlines. We focus our attention on voices of opposition, contestation, and dissent including those of Indigenous communities, youth refugees and their advocates, environmentalists, and followers of the unsanctioned saint Santa Muerte, who dissent from dominant formations of Church and State on both sides of the border. Discussing these views opens new perspectives for teaching and learning about the border and offers an alternative to the focus on law enforcement, surveillance, drugs, nationalism, and violence.