Migrations and Borders in the United States : Discourses, Representations, Imaginary Contexts
Edited by Susanne Berthier-Foglar and Paul Otto
The history of the borders and migrations of the United States is a very recent chapter of world history. The present volume discusses an extensive typology of borders : nineteenth century international borders crossed by American citizens settling Mexican territory, or crossed by Europeans settling the United States and becoming American in the process.
As a counterpoint, several papers deal with the more recent crossing of the Southern border of the United States with a view from the ground giving a voice to the coyotes enabling the passage into the United States, or with a view on the technology and discourse used to block access from the South. The unfiltered narrative of—and by—recent immigrants, both legal and illegal, trying to reconstruct their lives in the United States is discussed in the interview of filmmaker Yehuda Sharim who presents his own reasons for giving them a voice.
Not all borders are physical lines on the map ; some are conceptual and are crossed when moving into another culture or into another space.
They are linked to the notion of cultural mobility, evidenced when a group adopts cultural traits from another group. Hence, partial assimilation of migrants into the culture of the host country is also a situation of cultural mobility, and of micro-borders surrounding subcultures or ethnic enclaves.
These non-international and often invisible borders will be analyzed in the context of Arab-American fiction, in the racialized context of African-Americans confronted with—and interacting with—white Arizonians, Mexicans and Indians on the Southern border of Arizona, and in a discussion of the theoretical framework of “decolonial” studies questioning how far the colonial blueprint affects the relations between mainstream America and its Latin American neighbors.