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Reviewed by:
  • Women in Migration in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: A Reader, and: The Daughters of Juárez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border
  • María Socorro Tabuenca-Córdoba (bio)
Women in Migration in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands: A Reader edited by Denise A. Segura and Patricia Zavella. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2007, 595 pp. $99.95 handcover $29.95 paper.
The Daughters of Juárez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border by Teresa Rodríguez, Diane Montané, with Lisa Pulitzer. New York: Atria Books, 2007, 316 pp. $14.00 paper.

The U.S.-Mexico border has historically been a zone of tension and negotiations. Traditionally the area has been the subject of numerous discourses about race, cultural impurity, political menace, moral excesses, and migration, but scholarly and journalistic attention on this region has increased significantly in the past two decades. Women were unaccounted in any study of this region before the Border Industrialization Program in Mexico was instituted in 1965. Studies concentrating on women have multiplied on both sides of the border with the implementation of the maquiladora industry along the U.S-Mexico border and the increase of female internal migration to Mexican border cities, transborder mobility, and transnational migration.

Women in Migration in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands emerges to present a thorough discussion about how women on both sides of the border adapt and become active agents in addressing the structural changes they encounter in the migration process. This outstanding collection of essays [End Page 216] dismantles a long tradition of research primarily centered on men, mostly studied from a single national perspective, either Mexican or American. In the introduction, Denise A. Segura and Patricia Zavella, the editors, point out their commitment to developing a binational approach to this topic. They found that after participating in conversations with Mexican and U.S. scholars, there was a need to examine women and migration issues "beyond a nation-bound discourse" (2). The binational approach they incorporate in this anthology includes two axes of analyses: Structural transformations that push women to migrate and migrant women's agency in the face of discrimination and marginalization. Their commitment to highlighting the links between structure and agency deserves to be acknowledged because it promotes collaborative methodologies and theoretical frameworks on both sides of the border.

The collection positions women at the center of migration debates because of the shift in the migratory paradigm and the scarce number of studies on the topic. By doing this, several questions emerge: How does structural violence on both countries influence migrant women and their families? How do women construct diverse subjectivities while affected by nationalisms and transnationalism(s)? What are the political implications women encounter when they find themselves in the borderlands between the United States and Mexico? What kinds of racial, ethnic, sexual, cultural, labor, familial, and national structures do they contest or maneuver within? And how do they endure and resist personal or political abuse and state and/or social violence? Through an interdisciplinary approach, these reflections uncover "the poetics and performance of Mexican women's agency, crafting a tapestry of voice and resistance that speaks to their multiple realities" (19).

The twenty-three articles that comprise the anthology are divided into five sections. The first section, "Borderlands as Site of Struggle," offers serious analyses of how globalization, U.S. nativist discourses, and homophobic and misogynist constructions have affected Mexican women's representations and the ways they are (mis)treated in both countries, including violations of their individual and collective human rights. Essays from Rosalinda Fregoso, Leo R. Chavez, Adelaida del Castillo, Eithne Luibheid, and Jonathan Xavier Inda discuss issues such as the femicide in Juarez in the context of globalization, the representation of Mexican women's fertility as "out of control," human rights issues and social citizenship, U.S. exclusionary practices, and the biopolitics informing immigration policies. This section illuminates the dangers, challenges, adjustment, and agency of women as they move between the political and social borderlands.

Leslie Salzinger, Melissa W. Wright, Sylvanna Falcón, and Gloria González-López, in the second section, "The Topology of Violence," exemplify how...


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