- University of Texas Press
Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the Us-Mexico Divide
- C J Alvarez
- University of Texas Press
- 9.1 X 6.3 X 1.2 inches
- 1.35 pounds
- Technology & Engineering > Environmental - Water Supply
From the boundary surveys of the 1850s to the ever-expanding fences and highway networks of the twenty-first century, Border Land, Border Water examines the history of the construction projects that have shaped the region where the United States and Mexico meet.
Tracing the accretion of ports of entry, boundary markers, transportation networks, fences and barriers, surveillance infrastructure, and dams and other river engineering projects, C. J. Alvarez advances a broad chronological narrative that captures the full life cycle of border building. He explains how initial groundbreaking in the nineteenth century transitioned to unbridled faith in the capacity to control the movement of people, goods, and water through the use of physical structures. By the 1960s, however, the built environment of the border began to display increasingly obvious systemic flaws. More often than not, Alvarez shows, federal agencies in both countries responded with more construction--compensatory building designed to mitigate unsustainable policies relating to immigration, black markets, and the natural world. Border Land, Border Water reframes our understanding of how the border has come to look and function as it does and is essential to current debates about the future of the US-Mexico divide.
I am an associate professor in the department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. Before I received my doctorate in history at the University of Chicago, I studied the history of art and architecture at Harvard University and art and art history at Stanford University. I write and teach about the history of the U.S.-Mexico border and environmental history.
My first book, Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the U.S.-Mexico Divide (University of Texas Press, 2019) is a history of the built world of the U.S.-Mexico borderline. Based on dozens of rare and never-before-seen historic maps, photographs, and blueprints, as well as archival documents and oral histories, I explain how and why the history of survey markers, surveillance infrastructure, and fencing is connected to the history of river engineering, damming, and other hydraulic projects.
This book won the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Abbott Lowell Cummings Award in 2020, given annually to the newly-published book that has made the most significant contribution to the study of vernacular architecture and cultural landscapes of North America. It also won the Society of Architectural Historians' Elisabeth Blair MacDougall Award in 2021, given annually to the most distinguished work of scholarship in the history of landscape architecture or garden design.
history of the U.S.-Mexico border; environmental history
Source: The University of Texas at Austin - Department of Mexican America and Latina/o Studies
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