Seeing/Re-Seeing the Wall: Visual and Media Analysis of the Southern US Border

These projects were created by students enrolled during the Summer of 2018 in a graduate course focusing on the visual rhetoric of the Mexico/US border fence (wall). Through the study of visuals, conducting interviews, and gathering reports, articles, media reports and technical documents related to the fence, we looked at the wall from a New Materialist Rhetoric visual perspective using Laurie E. Gries' Still Life with Rhetoric: A New Materialist Approach for Visual Rhetoric (2015). We also read Border Angels: The Power of One (2015) by Enrique Morones, which provided an excellent overview of both the history of and realities surrounding the border space. One highlight of the course was getting to meet with Dr. Morones in our WebEx? class space. Realizing that most of us have a limited understanding of the border and the fence, our purpose was to better understand the border space.

Some of the major take aways from the course include:

  • The border situation is complex
  • There are many misconceptions related to the border
  • Those personally affected in some way related to the border are often scared or uncomfortable even talking about the situation
  • Visuals presented through the media regarding the border present a limit view, and thus create a limited understanding of the border

Note: One student chose to focus her case study on her homeland focusing on the Russia?, which added even more depth to our discussions and our understanding of border spaces.

"Perceptions of the US/Mexican Border Using the New Materialist Approach for Visual Rhetorics" by Edith A. Diaz

"Fake News Wall and the Border Image" by Ethan Gross

"Re-thinking the Borders: The Ukrainian-Russian Border from the New Materialist Rhetoric Perspective" by Olena Simmons