Communication ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-24-2020


Borders are created to colonize both land and body. The politically constructed line between the United Stated (U.S.) and Mexico impose physical and emotional trauma through border militarization and immigration policies that consequently separate families and criminalize individuals. Rhetoric centering xenophobic divisions has normalized violence against brown bodies. The relentless effort to continue this divide has led to a genre of art that manifests on the border wall. Artist use the U.S.-Mexico border as a canvas to resist and challenge migratory criminalization by visualizing their opinions to redefine this 1,954-mile line. This research is centered in the study of communication through a borderlands lens and pulls from Gillian Roses’ (2001) method for visual analysis. In a five-part phase, I examine the work of three political art activists who rework the aesthetics of the border wall with their art and use of digital photography as a way to communicate that revision to the masses. Specifically, I examined art that was directly created on the U.S.- Mexico border, which creates a facade of the border wall by (1) visually connecting the two physical spaces and (2) giving an illusion of eliminating the border completely.




Borderlands, political art, visual discourse, photography

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Jaelyn deMaría

Second Committee Member

Dr. Judith White

Third Committee Member

Dr. Theresa Cordova