American Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2019


In a contemporary context, the United States-Mexico border raises concerns regarding undocumented migration, drug and human trafficking, and cartel or gang violence. While these are material realities that come, at times, with grave consequences and outcomes, they are not the only characteristics or facets of the border region. The intention of the border is to delineate and separate, however, this ignores the stationary communities along the territorial demarcation which interact with and demonstrate the fluidity of life at the line. Transboundariness, as defined by Lawrence A. Herzog, provides the framework with which to examine cross-boundary connections that result from economic exchanges and in turn foster social and cultural relationships beyond the border (1990). As a means for understanding the social relationships which grow from transboundary connections, this study examines the Cinco de Mayo Fiestasof Ambos Nogalesboth Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora from 1941 through the 1980’s. The transboundary Fiestas are demonstrative of a historically significant relationship built prior to the construction of the border. In the context of the Ambos Nogales community, the construction of a physical demarcation between Mexico and the U.S. has only fueled their continued connection. Contemporary politics and perceptions of the U.S.-Mexico border often occur at a distance and with little consideration for the communities that exist along the international line. This disconnect results in distinct national perceptions of the border versus local lived realities and experiences. A national focus on border security and policing of the boundary between Mexico and the U.S. ignores the potential for public commemorations, such as the Cinco de Mayo, to maintain transboundary linkages.




Nogales, U.S.-Mexico Border, Cinco de Mayo Fiestas, Border Studies, Arizona, Sonora

Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

A. Gabriel Meléndez

Second Committee Member

Irene Vásquez

Third Committee Member

Bárbara O. Reyes

Fourth Committee Member

Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez