Border places, frontier spaces: Deconstructing ideologies of the *Southwest

Date
2009
Authors
Barrera, Cordelia Eliza
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Abstract

In this dissertation, I bring together Border Theory and frontier ideologies in the Southwest to argue that the search for individual identity via the historiographic re-telling of stories is central to uncovering the metaphorical power of border places and frontier spaces. Cross-cultural re-tellings allow me to reconstruct these tropes syncretically to transcend individual difference with the aim of cohering the experiences of Anglo, Native American, Mexican-American, and Chicana/o cultures.

A close reading of works by Chicana/os, Mexican-Americans, American Indians, and Euro-Americans in the Southwest points to parallel ideas of the need for an inclusive, third space consciousness to usher social, political, and cultural change on the borderlands. The movement of the works I critically study through the lens of border theory involves a response, as well as a challenge to Euro-centered ways of seeing and presenting the world. Works by authors as diverse as Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Leslie Marmon Silko, Arturo Islas, Américo Paredes, and Eve Raleigh and Jovita González, provide the base from which I examine ideas about storytelling, time, personal identity, and the bond between individuals and a Southwestern geography. Importantly, these works either demand alternative conceptions of understanding time, place, and space, or reveal how the linearity of Euro-centered conceptions of time, place, and space have resulted--ironically--in the false utopian visions of a conquering people.

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Keywords
Activism, American Southwest, Border Studies, Social Geography, Third Space Feminism
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Department
English