Appointed As

School of International Letters and Cultures


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


Arizona State University

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Latino Literature, University of Houston

Dissertation Abstract

"Creating an Archive: Fronteriza Authors Writing Histories, Documenting U.S.-Mexico Border Militarization"

This research stems from the idea that fronteriza authors, from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, record the development of militarization along the region through their literary production. I argue that their texts are embedded with historical references of policing, surveillance and policies woven either as memories, testimonies, personal and collective accounts, and primary sources that become alternative histories. With this in mind, I propose that the collection of fictional narratives I analyze construct a literary archive from a fronteriza lens that offers an insight into their communities, region, and resilience against border militarization that also contest historical erasure.
Chapter One. “Revisiting the Past: Contesting a Mechanism of Militarization,” analyzes mechanisms of militarization performed by Texas Rangers and the Border Patrol to prove the presence of a border militarization during the nineteenth century through the analysis of Shame the Stars by Guadalupe García McCall, Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en La Frontera by Norma E. Cantú, and Callejón Sucre y otros relatos by Rosario Sanmiguel. As a result, three historical events emerged: The Plan de San Diego (1915), bath riots (1917), and the Mexican Repatriation (1920-1939) documented through memories, testimonies, and primary sources.
Chapter Two, “Collective Memories: Documenting the Emergence of Militarization,” examines surveillance practices by Border Patrol agents to reveal an escalation of border militarization through the narratives of Norma E. Cantú, Rosario Sanmiguel, and Lucrecia Guerrero’s collection of short stories Chasing Shadows. Through memories and personal accounts fronterizas reveal the emergence of militarization woven in events such as Bracero Program (1942-1964), Operation Wetback (1954), and Operation Blockade (1993).
Chapter Three, “A Record of Defiance: Challenging a Militarization System,” analyzes US policies that transformed the border into a hyper-surveillance region as recorded in the narratives of Delincuentos: historias del narcotráfico by Arminé Arjona. The narratives document through testimony, memory and personal accounts a history of marijuana policies embedded in the United States War on Drugs campaign, mass incarceration, and the beginning of major federal funding on the U.S.-Mexico border militarization.
This work began with collections of short stories whose record of historical references confirmed the presence and evolution of a border militarization. As part of the development of this fronteriza literary archive, other fronteriza authors are to be incorporated as I intend to transfer my research into a digital humanities project for multiple publics to engage with the border region through fiction.