Interstitial EP036

Border Land, Border Water
by C.J. Alvarez

The landscape along the US-Mexico border has been manipulated and altered over the past 150 years in an effort to control not only people but also animals, goods, and water. C.J. Alvarez details the history of construction along the international divide.


C.J. Alvarez is an assistant professor in the department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies at The University of Texas Austin and a Mellon Fellow at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is the author of Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the U.S.-Mexico Divide and is working on a book about the history of the Chihuahuan Desert.


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Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the US-Mexico Divide
C.J. Alvarez
University of Texas Press
October 2019


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James Kaywaykla

The book consists of transcribed stories by this woman named Eve Ball, in the 1950s, of this guy named James Kaywaykla, who was from the Warm Springs band of the Apaches. He was a kid in the 1870s and ’80s, as his people were being reduced to reservations, deported to Florida, deported to Pennsylvania, deported to Oklahoma, etc. And he talks about that Southern New Mexico-Northern Chihuahua border region in his own words, in this transcribed way that is completely fascinating. And it’s very much about the border.

Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border

Rachel St. John

My favorite academic history book about the US-Mexico border, and the one I think that I look to most frequently to orient myself as a historian. It’s about the construction of the border, with a specific, detailed texture to it, mainly in Arizona and Sonora. She only goes through the 1930s, and she doesn’t look at the river at all; it’s just just the history of the land border. So our analyses overlap a lot in that context, but to me it was kind of a jumping off point.

The Underdogs

Mariano Azuela

One of the classic novels of twentieth-century Mexican literature. He actually wrote it in El Paso, because the revolution was on, and it’s about the revolution in the north.

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