a C k n o w L e d g m e n t s
I have always imagined writing my acknowledgments as an exorcism, a
banishing of the burdens and abstraction of “the book,” which haunts
junior scholars in the social sciences and the humanities, as it becomes
“my book.” But this enterprise is far more than a release or a sigh of
relief. The book generally and the acknowledgments specifically are a
recognition of the collective nature of intellectual labor: the pounds
of intellectual, political, and emotional flesh, of critical feedback and
shared knowledges. In other words, it is the humbling realization that
I stand on the shoulders of giants, and it is to them I give thanks.
My greatest debt goes to the youths I have called Román, Margarita,
Shorty, Bolillo, La Negra, Skinny, Victor, Tocayo, Jesús, Victoria, Loco,
Willi, La Morena, and many, many more who lived—and some of
whom died—in Barrio Libre. How you pained me. How you fasci-
nated me. How you challenged me. How you taught me. How you
haunt me. I will always feel that I never did enough. I still look for you.
I am deeply grateful to my family—or “kin,” in the parlance of an-
thropology. My parents, Gilbert and Cecilia Mora Rosas, and my sis-
ter, Monica Rosas, have been vital to my seeing this project come to
completion. Korinta Maldonado’s astute insights and her patience
with my multiple rewrites likewise have helped me see this project to
its end.
I am indebted to the activist intellectuals in community organiza-
tions in the Tucson and Nogales region, particularly Raquel Rubio
Goldsmith and Guadalupe Castillo, of Coalición de Derechos Huma-
nos, and Jennifer Allen, of the Border Action Network. Their critical
assessments and grounded knowledges suffuse this manuscript and
reminded me of the “other side” of the border. It can bring people
together to fight injustice.
Working on the sharp borders of anthropology and Latino studies
proves tenuous without the friendships, knowledges, and support
of my mentors, colleagues, friends, and critics. At the University of
Texas, Austin, José Limón taught me what ethnography could be. The
guidance and challenges of Ricardo Ainsle, Richard Flores, Shannon
Speed, and Kamala Visweswaran proved invaluable as my ideas con-
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