The Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts, in what today constitutes the heart of the United States–Mexico borderlands, have long been places that sharply reflect the fantasies and dreams of outsiders, who have come to the area since the early sixteenth century. Starting with Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and the incomparable Fray Marcos de Niza, Spanish soldiers, Catholic missionaries, and colonial bureaucrats produced incredible narratives mirroring not what they actually saw but rather what they wanted to see in these areas. The seven golden cities, El Dorado, and other utopian visions are no longer alive, and yet the ways in which politicians, historians, artists, and scholars envision the borderlands today follow pretty much the same tradition. Any online search on the borderlands today would show vivid examples of these trends. Some want to see a great wall separating Mexico from the United States...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this content.