Loading...

Mean Green

Nation Building in the National Border Patrol Museum

by Gabriela E. Moreno (Author)
Monographs XVI, 140 Pages

Summary

The National Border Patrol Museum (NBPM) in El Paso, Texas, presents a view of the history, culture, and life along the U.S.-Mexico border that is not offered in any other museum in the world. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to study and understand people and life along the border through the different forms in which they represent themselves and how they are viewed by others. Mean Green: Nation Building in the National Border Patrol Museum presents an analysis of the museum that deploys theoretical approaches in the disciplines of visual and cultural studies, border studies, ethnic studies, discourse analysis, museology, and spatial theory.
The objectives of this book are to study the varied representations, that is, the hypermasculine male and the disenfranchised "illegal" immigrant, that reinforce and challenge the dominant discourse present in the hegemonic state; to analyze why the museum represents a homotopia within the limits of a heterotopia; to learn how the museum creates imagined communities through the use of its historical patrimony; to observe the practices in relations of power by employing the notion of a panopticon; and, lastly, to understand how the museum is providing a commodification of symbols to promote the hegemonic state.

Table Of Content

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgments
  • Preface
  • Chapter 1: Situating and Visualizing the National Border Patrol Museum
  • Introduction
  • Theoretical Framework
  • Visual Cultural Studies: Is What You See Really What You See?
  • Museology and Spatial Theory: The Production and Re-Appropriation of Space
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Chapter 2: History of the Border and the Creation of the National Border Patrol Museum
  • The Border: A Relationship between the United States and Mexico
  • El Paso, Texas: Looking Back from the 1900s to Today
  • Immigration and the Creation of the Border Patrol as a Deterring Tool
  • FORBPO and the Foundation of the National Border Patrol Museum
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Chapter 3: Locus of Order: Spatiality in Nation Building and Cultural Commodification
  • At First Glance
  • Inside Out: What Is a Museum?
  • The NBPM: Heterotopic Spaces and the Status of the Nation State
  • Heterotopia vs. Homotopia
  • The NBPM Stays: Heterotopia vs. Homotopia in the Borderlands
  • The NBPM: A “Panoptic” Space and the Exercising of Power
  • The NBPM: The Commodification of Symbols and the Hegemonic State in Nation Building
  • What Is a Commodity, and How Is It Negotiable in the NBPM?
  • Commodity: A Tool for the Hegemonic State
  • Commodities as Tools of Nation Building
  • The Monumentalization of Commodities
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Chapter 4: Wild, Wild West: The Construction and Reconstruction of Racial Identities (Part I)
  • The Foundation of a Nation
  • The Anglo-Saxon Identity: What It Means to Be an “American”
  • Eugenics: Categorization and Survival of the Fittest
  • The NBPM: Reinventing and Reconstructing Racial Identities
  • The NBPM: Agency and Power Relations
  • Language Discourse and Identity Socialization: An Efficient Resource
  • The Artifacts Frozen in Time
  • The Hypermasculinity and the American Male Figure
  • The Cowboy Within
  • The Hero and Soldier Within
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Chapter 5: Homies in the House: The Construction and Reconstruction of Racial Identities (Part II)
  • The Struggle Between Race, Ethnicity, and Citizenship
  • Racial Profiling: The Act of Natural Selection?
  • “ILLEGAL” Homies in the House
  • “Homie Don’t Play That”
  • A Threat to the American Race and Culture
  • Moving from the Mundane to Ethnographic Artifacts
  • The “Chiv”: A Tool of “Illegal Immigrant” Representation
  • Indigenous Methods as a Racial Profiling and Discrimination Tool
  • The “Illegal Immigrant”: A Threat to the American Way of Life
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Chapter 6: Conclusion
  • The Construction and Reconstruction of Racial Identities Revisited
  • Index
  • Series index

← viii | ix →

Figures

 

Figure 1.1Photograph of agents who captured a boy smuggling illegal liquor. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 2.1Picture of BP at top of bridge in the United States and protesters in Mexico. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 3.1U.S. Border Patrol teddy bears. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 3.2Poster honoring those who gave their lives in the line of duty. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 4.1Hat of El Paso where the legend began. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation. ← ix | x →
Figure 4.2Decommissioned Camaro utilized by the Border Patrol. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 4.3Twenty-foot statue that stands outside the museum. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 4.4Display honoring the attacks on September 11. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 4.5BORTAC gear—BORTAC small tactical unit within BP. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 4.6Military gear used by BORTAC agent. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 5.1Figurines on display in front of BP bus and miniature reproductions of BP vehicles. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 5.2Figurine of BP agent on display. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 5.3Panel display of weaponry seized. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.
Figure 5.4Close up of weaponry seized. Printed with permission from the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation.

← x | xi →

Acknowledgments

 

This project would have never come to fruition without the unconditional support and guidance of Dr. Patricia MacGregor-Mendoza and Dr. Laura Gutiérrez. Thank you so much for your close reads of numerous drafts, in-depth commentary, and honesty. I am especially grateful for always demanding quality work and for all the knowledge you have bestowed on me; which I look forward to passing on to my students. Special thanks to the Department of Languages and Linguistics, and The College of Arts and Sciences Stan Fulton Endowed Chair, Dr. Cynthia Bejarano at New Mexico State University for their support of this project. Thank you to the National Border Patrol Museum & Memorial Library Foundation for granting me permission to print the photographs taken at the museum. My greatest gratitude is for my family: Doña Velia and Don Pepe Abanico, Joe, Susy, Vania, Albert, Joaquín Emiliano, and Ivy Marie. Thank you for the love and support. ← xi | xii →

← xii | xiii →

Preface

 

The United States has built its nation on the narratives of the majority. This has been done throughout history by establishing national symbols that have become engrained in the thoughts and memories of the American people. It is through these symbols and representations that we create a nation. The act of nation building includes the practice of similar customs and consumption of symbols that become commodities in our daily lives. Symbols like the American flag, the Statue of Liberty, the American Eagle, among others, adorn our walls in an effort to help us fit into a society of the majority, a society of one. What happens then to those that are unable to function as American citizens within the society in which they reside? What happens to those that are unable to purchase the commodities that will make them part of that nation? What happens to those that are marginalized for not being able to give up their beliefs and convictions based on their countries of origin? Where do they go? Where do they belong? How will they ever feel part of this country if their ideals are in juxtaposition to those established by the majority?

Mean Green: Nation Building in the National Border Patrol Museum illustrates how this machine called America is able to create national symbols that are consumed by its members to identify and participate within a society. By seeing the museum through the backdrop of heterotopic and homotopic spaces, panopticon paradigms, hypermasculinity, imagined communities, and national symbols that ← xiii | xiv → serve as commodities, the visitor can observe how certain entities reinforce an identity suited for those who want to function within an American society. The National Border Patrol Museum (NBPM) allows a space for critical analysis of the paradigm of nation building. The representations, the ideology, and the narratives presented within the museum are examples of the work done in this country to emulate a united nation. Yet this only proves the power of such representations when the country is more divided than ever, even through the efforts of those concerned with nation building and American ideology.

Mean Green presents a discussion of the National Border Patrol Museum through the influence of the Border Patrol, as well as my own perspective as a child of the border. As a creation of the border, the region has very much influenced my language, culture, and political views. In part, it has shaped my scholarship and research. The interactions and experiences lived in the region provided me with much insight into the relationships and dynamic that have afflicted those residing in this space. The knowledge acquired while residing in El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juárez has shaped much of the research for this book. The book illustrates the border as a complex space that can be interpreted from many alternate perspectives. The symbols in the museum can be interpreted in many different forms based on the border experience of the reader. The space cannot be observed through one lens because its interpretation can only be based on the influences and background of those viewing the exhibits.

Details

Pages
XVI, 140
ISBN (PDF)
9781433141829
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433141836
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433141843
ISBN (Hardcover)
9781433135255
Language
English
Publication date
2017 (June)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2017. XVI, 140 pp., 14 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Gabriela E. Moreno (Author)

Gabriela E. Moreno graduated from The University of Arizona with a Ph.D. in Hispanic literature, emphasis in border studies. She is Assistant Professor at New Mexico State University where she oversees the SHL/SNS Language Program. She is a co-author of Tertulia: La escritura como acto público, social y cultural. She currently serves as co-advisor for two student-led groups: CAMP and MHAR. Her primary research interests include heritage languages/cultures/identities, border issues, immigration, language socialization, and languages in contact.

Previous

Title: Mean Green