Migrants and Minorities

Presenter/Author Information

Tereza M. Szeghi, University of DaytonFollow

Location

University of Dayton

Start Date

10-2-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

10-2-2015 12:00 PM

Abstract

This paper offers a comparative assessment of how Ana Castillo (in The Guardians) and Louise Erdrich (in The Round House) craft overtly didactic novels as a means of raising awareness about contemporary human rights violations in the U.S-Mexico and Ojibwe borderlands, respectively. I argue that placing their novels in conversation with one another calls attention to the ways that excess policing of borders and ambiguities regarding jurisdiction in border zones both (albeit differentially) contribute to human rights violations. It is not part of the general U.S. consciousness to think about our internal borderlands (i.e., those surrounding tribal lands), but when viewed in comparison with the U.S.-Mexico border (how it is perceived, militarized, and undermined) we can better understand that legal and jurisdictional indeterminacy along reservation borderlands further erodes tribal sovereignty.

As a consequence tribes are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations and handicapped in their efforts to seek justice for their citizens. And yet, as Ana Castillo vividly dramatizes with respect to the U.S-Mexico border, treating a border as an absolute dividing line between two nations does not assure justice or legal clarity for the people who regularly lose their lives to borderlands’ violence.

When read together, The Round House and The Guardians forcefully argue that borders do not serve but rather undermine the realization of universal human rights. Instead borders of different types (internal, external, heavily regulated, and ambiguous) variously reinforce the notion that rights are not evenly shared based on one’s status as human but unevenly distributed on the basis of nation, legal status, and colonial inheritance.

Comments

This biennial conference provides a unique space for scholars, practitioners and advocates to engage in collaboration, dialogue and critical analysis of human rights advocacy — locally and globally. Learn more about the Human Rights Center at the University of Dayton >>>.

 
Oct 2nd, 10:30 AM Oct 2nd, 12:00 PM

Literature and Human Rights Violations in U.S. Borderlands (abstract)

University of Dayton

This paper offers a comparative assessment of how Ana Castillo (in The Guardians) and Louise Erdrich (in The Round House) craft overtly didactic novels as a means of raising awareness about contemporary human rights violations in the U.S-Mexico and Ojibwe borderlands, respectively. I argue that placing their novels in conversation with one another calls attention to the ways that excess policing of borders and ambiguities regarding jurisdiction in border zones both (albeit differentially) contribute to human rights violations. It is not part of the general U.S. consciousness to think about our internal borderlands (i.e., those surrounding tribal lands), but when viewed in comparison with the U.S.-Mexico border (how it is perceived, militarized, and undermined) we can better understand that legal and jurisdictional indeterminacy along reservation borderlands further erodes tribal sovereignty.

As a consequence tribes are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations and handicapped in their efforts to seek justice for their citizens. And yet, as Ana Castillo vividly dramatizes with respect to the U.S-Mexico border, treating a border as an absolute dividing line between two nations does not assure justice or legal clarity for the people who regularly lose their lives to borderlands’ violence.

When read together, The Round House and The Guardians forcefully argue that borders do not serve but rather undermine the realization of universal human rights. Instead borders of different types (internal, external, heavily regulated, and ambiguous) variously reinforce the notion that rights are not evenly shared based on one’s status as human but unevenly distributed on the basis of nation, legal status, and colonial inheritance.