Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters
The Human Consequences of the US-Mexico Border: Testimonial Literature of Gloria Anzaldúa and Valeria Luiselli
Dr. Laura Loustau
The discussion surrounding the US-Mexico Border has remained a central issue in American politics throughout recent decades, with anti-immigrant attitudes being more prevalent than ever. The increasing support for border militarization and immigration restrictions exemplifies an American public that lacks an accurate understanding of the implications of militarizing the US-Mexico border. Testimonial literature about the border will center the discussion of this essay, and it can be categorized as any writing that illustrates one or more of the negative consequences of the US-Mexico border. The majority of the border’s effects are negative, and its impact is not felt by one country or community alone. This essay will explore two examples of testimonial border literature that discuss the border’s effects on two groups of people: US citizens of Latino descent and Latino migrants and immigrants. First we will examine Gloria Anzaldúa’s book, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987), and her discussion of the border and its effects on Latinos— more specifically Mexican-Americans— living within the United States. Then we will compare the themes and techniques employed in Anzaldúa’s writing to those in Valeria Lusielli’s book, Los Niños Perdidos: Un ensayo en cuarenta preguntas (2017). In her essay, Luiselli describes what she learned while volunteering as a translator for an immigration law firm in 2015. Drawing from her interviews with unaccompanied minors who had crossed the border and were seeking asylum in the US, Lusielli depicts the emotional, cultural, and legal repercussions of the current immigration and border-control policies. To conclude, we will examine the ways in which the various problems caused by the border’s history and militarization could potentially be resolved.
Hodgetts, Grace, "The Human Consequences of the US-Mexico Border: Testimonial Literature of Gloria Anzaldúa and Valeria Luiselli" (2022). Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters. 565.
Presented at the Fall 2022 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.