This article situates early twentieth-century Latinx fiction within the intertwined histories of public health and border surveillance along the Rio Grande to reveal a “borderland biopolitics” unique to the US-Mexico border region. Drawing on three early twentieth-century novels—Daniel Venegas’s Adventures of Don Chipote, Américo Paredes’s George Washington Gómez, and Jovita González and Eve Raleigh’s Caballero—it adds another layer of historical nuance to studies of Latinx literature by demonstrating the profound, pervasive influence that epidemiological science and public health policy have had in shaping national identity politics in the borderlands. Because militarized border control evolves from public health efforts, reframing analyses of Latinx fiction to read for public health provides fresh insight into institutionalized forms of discrimination and social injustice that continue to condition Latinx lives in the US-Mexico borderlands.

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