Faculty member Marcel Brousseau's book, Hyperborders: Cultural Techniques of the Trans-American Borderlands, is scheduled to be released in 2021.
Hyperborders: Cultural Techniques of the Trans-American Borderlands, is a study of the borderlands of the United States, Central America, Mexico, and Indigenous nations as a media ecology of maps, literature, fences, laws, photographs, and paperwork. Arguing that national boundaries are empowered through Foucauldian “references to other [borders], other texts, and other [media],” the book seeks to unfold hyperborders, or the intertextual archives that potentiate the writing, drawing, and building of borders. For example, the U.S.-Mexico border wall/fence can be read as a hegemonic hyperborder wherein xenophobic legislators cite Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” to invoke U.S. literary heritage and the Puritan distinction between civilization and savagery. At the same time, Gloria Anzaldúa uses a critical hyperborder of fences as a model of identity formation in her narrativization of nepantla, or in-betweenness. Central to the project is the methodology of cultural techniques, through which borders can be deconstructed as modes of inscription and knowledge power. José David Saldívar’s concept of “trans-Americanity” determines the book’s comparative, hemispheric scope, while borderlands historiography—drawing from Kelly Lytle Hernández and Pekka Hämäläinen—underpins its analysis of the techniques mediating racialization and cultural exchange. Informed by archival research and participatory fieldwork, the chapters explore different hyperborders, examining maps of migrant bodies by Luis Alberto Urrea and Pedro Lasch; storyscapes of allotments by N. Scott Momaday (Kiowa-Cherokee) and Mark Palmer (Kiowa); photographic fences by María Teresa Fernández and Peter Goin; and Zuni legal, oral, and painted descriptions of A:shiwi A:wan Ulohnanne, or the Zuni world; among other topics.