Borderlands

Borders are fictions of material consequence, created by empires and fortified with the invention of the modern nation-state. They restrict the limits of territory and mark the transition between kingdoms, colonies, and private land holdings in advanced capitalist societies. Where national territory or private property begin and end, borders signal the essence of power relations. The actual geographic spaces of borders tend to be highly contested. Particular to Latina/o studies, the boundaries of Spanish and Anglophone empires and of the nation- state pervade how we theorize borders and borderlands in the field. While some borders are highly privileged and centralized, others are just as contested.

The subfield of borderlands theory emerged in the late 1980s. Part theory of language, part theory of subjectivity, and part theory of geography, it accounts for the relationship between the centers and margins of power, which are in dialectic tension for Latina/o populations. As Juan …

This essay may be found on page 21 of the printed volume.

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