Borderland Reckonings: Haunted Spaces and Landscapes of Memory on the Bordered Frontier with Dr. Cordelia Barrera

October 27, 2022
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM CT

Registration is required to attend this event.

This presentation draws from my recent book, The Haunted Borderlands to consider the American Southwest as a geographical region hemmed by the mutually-reinforcing power of borders and frontiers, which represent and therefore produce and reproduce different social worlds of meaning. I draw on theories of place, space and haunting to show how memory can instill an ethic and orientation tied to embodied knowledge and identity hidden beneath the palimpsest that is the American Southwest. This approach uncovers complex associations between an American frontier imaginary and the US-Mexico border—what I call the "Bordered frontier." Reading the landscape as a Bordered frontier demands a discursive mixture of registers from American literary forms such as the Gothic alongside indigenous forms surrounding Aztec and Mayan mythologies and preconquest ways of living in the world. A focus on haunting restores an eco-spatial significance to the Borderlands as a generative site of ethnic identity and ideology as well as a place of stability, rootedness, and moral obligation. A key goal of this webinar is to illustrate how haunting, or the "coming back" of time, restores a connection between place and ethics—a connection necessary to understand how a "Borderlands Imaginary" has always been an integral facet of the American cultural consciousness in the Southwest.

Dr. Cordelia E. Barrera specializes in Latinx literatures, the American Southwest, U.S border theory, and multiethnic speculative fictions and is Co-Director of the Literature of Social Justice and the Environment (LSJE) initiative. Her research highlights the need to disrupt mythologies of the American West by incorporating border voices and concentrates on the literature of social justice and the environment.