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As with all borders, the international boundary between the United States and Mexico troubles distinctions between strangers and enemies, between the criminal and the law-abiding, between immigrant and citizen. The US-Mexico border specifically, and borders generally, have grown in importance as border controls and undocumented border crossings have intensified across the globe. The Border Reader curates some of the foundational scholarship on the region, its daily life, and its tensions. From linguistic studies of the criminal argot of smugglers, to insistences on the region’s normalcy, to smug confirmations of US superiority, to romanticized folklores of resistance in corridos and related forms, to studies on health and immigration policy, questions about who, what, and which language—English, Spanish, Yoeme, or even Q’anjob’al—represent the border remain pertinent. The Border Reader offers a vibrant alternative canon for scholars and students in a range of fields including anthropology, history, English, Spanish, postcolonial, and ethnic studies.

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