Landscape is the space of negotiation between human beings and the physical world, and rarely are the negotiations more complex and subtle than those conducted through the desert landscape along the Mexico-U.S. border. Patricia L. Price views the shaping of the landscape on and around the border through various narratives that have sought to establish claims to these dry lands. Most prominent are the accounts of Anglo-American expansionism and Manifest Destiny juxtaposed with the Chicano nationalist tale of Aztlan in the twentieth century, all constituting collective, contending claims to the U.S. Southwest. Demonstrating how stories can become vehicles for reshaping places and identities, Price considers characters old and new who inhabit the contemporary borderlands between Mexico and the United States-ranging from longstanding manifestations of good and evil in the figures of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Devil to a collection of lay saints embodying current concerns. Dry Place weaves together theoretical insights with field-based inquiry, autobiography, and creative writing to arrive at a textured understanding of the bordered landscape of late modern subjectivity.
atricia L. Price is associate professor of geography in the Department of International Relations at Florida International University in Miami.