Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Winter 12-3-2024


International borders not only serve as the edge of a nation-state's sovereign territory, but they also aid in informing popular conceptions of its national identity. This study examines how the Mexico - U.S. border served as a spark for episodes of American nationalism from 1821-1920. In examining three historical periods whereby the border was forming, disrupted, or challenged, I demonstrate how borders serve as sources, both symbolically and physically for the expressions of American nationalism. I utilize inductive qualitative discourse analysis of American actors embedded along the border, in Mexico, or serving as political leaders, to sample some of the popular nationalistic expressions made in relation to the border, Mexico, and Mexicans. This study explores the intersection of race with key nationalism frameworks which include civic and ethnic nationalism, to illustrate how national characteristics of race and ethnicity inform ideologies, attitudes, and assumptions about the American national identity.

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Level of Degree


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Nancy López

Second Committee Member

Dr. Phillip (Felipe) Gonzales

Third Committee Member

Dr. Owen Whooley

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Samuel Truett


American nationalism, racial nationalism, civic and ethnic nationalism, borders, Mexico - U.S. border, white nationalism, protective nationalism, imperial nationalism, and replicative nationalism



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