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Title:Imperial divides: race, nation, security and the U.S.-Mexico border, 1940-1955
Author(s):Eisen, Andrew A.
Director of Research:Hoganson, Kristin
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hoganson, Kristin L.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Roediger, David; Burgos, Adrian; Rosas, Gilberto
Department / Program:History
Discipline:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):U.S.-Mexico border
Cold War
border militarization
Abstract:Imperial Divides explores the history of border policing between the United States and Mexico from the 1940s to the 1950s. I examine the links between international security and the early efforts to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border, focusing on the cultural production of a boundary cast in perpetual crisis. This project traces the construction of the U.S.-Mexico border as a global security threat and examines how it was enforced in both countries. It studies the relationship between warfare, migration, and boundary enforcement, arguing that the deep anxieties concerning the United States’ inability to exercise complete control over its southern boundary during World War II and the Cold War were crucial in transforming the U.S.-Mexico border into a national security imperative. I contend that public spectacles of border enforcement were crafted in large part in response to global warfare, beginning with Axis nationals in the years leading up to World War II, and then shifting to Mexican nationals during the Cold War. Just as significantly, this dissertation draws attention to the opposition of the early efforts to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border. For radical artists, intellectuals, and activists, the joint policing of the border, and the Mexican state’s close cooperation with the United States during the first decade of the Cold War signaled a troubling rightward shift in the nation. As the presidential administrations of Ávila Camacho (1940-46), Miguel Alemán Valdés (1946-52), and Adolfo Ruiz Cortines (1952-58) sought greater political, economic, and security ties with the United States, a creative flurry of radical opposition emerged, insisting that the sovereignty of the Mexican nation was being undermined by its imperial neighbor.
Issue Date:2015-07-17
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/88297
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Andrew Eisen
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201


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