An interdisciplinary group of borderlands scholars provide the first expansive comparative history of the way North American borders have been policed—and transgressed—over the past two centuries.
An extensive history examining how North American nations have tried (and often failed) to police their borders, Border Policing presents diverse scholarly perspectives on attempts to regulate people and goods at borders, as well as on the ways that individuals and communities have navigated, contested, and evaded such regulation.
The contributors explore these power dynamics though a series of case studies on subjects ranging from competing allegiances at the northeastern border during the War of 1812 to struggles over Indian sovereignty and from the effects of the Mexican Revolution to the experiences of smugglers along the Rio Grande during Prohibition. Later chapters stretch into the twenty-first century and consider immigration enforcement, drug trafficking, and representations of border policing in reality television. Together, the contributors explore the powerful ways in which federal authorities impose political agendas on borderlands and how local border residents and regions interact with, and push back against, such agendas. With its rich mix of political, legal, social, and cultural history, this collection provides new insights into the distinct realities that have shaped the international borders of North America.