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Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Hispanic Studies and International Studies - Latin American and Caribbean Studies

First Advisor

Professor Thomas Harrington

Second Advisor

Professor Christopher VanGinhoven Rey


With the creation of our “modern world” came the ideology and system of nation-states. Land in its most natural and undivided condition was marked, fenced, walled, and mapped in order to give direct power of territory to a nation-state. The borderline between the United States and Mexico was established not so long ago, in 1857 after the US-Mexico War. The United States seized the opportunity to expand its “borders of freedom,” and waged war in order to conquer land that was part of Mexico. Once half of Mexico’s territory was taken, the borderline was established. However, from these historical roots, a complex and hybrid culture exists in this border region, along with a strong borderlander, fronterizo identity. This region has sparked the interest of many in the past, and has given rise to an extensive body of studies and theories.

For my thesis, I wanted to explore this region’s culture and identity from a unique and interesting angle. My first chapter is a consensus of a variety of studies on the US-Mexico borderland and also an explanation of Even-Zohar’s theory of the laws of cultural interference. In my second chapter I explore the complicated topic of identity in the borderland, which is varied due to southern Mexican and Central American immigration, but a cogent reality for those inhabitants who identify strongly as “borderlanders.” For my final chapter, I applied and evaluated the laws of Even-Zohar’s theory to a set of photographs of the borderland from Alex Webb’s Crossings. In evaluating his theory, I found that although there is a prominence and influence of American culture in the Mexican borderland, there is a balance between Mexican culture and American culture. A hybrid culture truly exists and forms a unique border culture. From this conclusion, I propose that the unity found between the borderlanders and their culture is an example and call for the governments of the United States and Mexico to do the same in order to solve the various drug trafficking and immigration conflicts in this region. More divisions should not be put up; instead, more cooperation is necessary. A borderline wall has not and will not solve anything, and certainly does not stop the flow of cultures. The borderland challenges the power of nation-states and borders, demonstrating the strength and significance culture has.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Hispanic Studies and International Studies. Accessible to members of the Trinity community only