The Price of 'Free' Trade: NAFTA and the Economics of Border Crossing in George Rabasa's Floating Kingdom and Leslie Marmon Silko's Almanac of the Dead

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Under contemporary US immigration policy, the US-Mexico border has become a new 'American Frontier', a 'Tortilla Curtain' that marks the edges of nation and of national knowledge. As a result of such US policies and the increased cultural and political tensions in the area that result from them, the border region has more clearly emerged imaginatively and culturally as, in Gloria Anzaldúa's terms, a 'third country'. This paper analyses that 'third country' and its relationship to an arbitrarily imposed and emphatically enforced political and cultural border in the work of the Chicano writer George Rabasa and the Native American writer Leslie Marmon Silko. Both Rabasa and Silko actively map a wide variety of ethnicities and cultures into the physical border region itself, engaging with the complex relationships between culture and nature, community and place. Both also emphasise an increasingly transgressive and transnational perspective. In this context, both writers highlight and expose the indeterminacy, fragility and permeability of borders of all kinds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-170
Number of pages24
JournalComparative American Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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