Borderlands Archives Cartography (BAC) was founded in 2017 by borderland natives Maira E. Álvarez and Sylvia A. Fernández. BAC is a project that consists of a digital map which displays a U.S.-Mexico border newspapers cartography that records geographic locations of nineteenth and mid-twentieth century periodicals. It is a personal initiative and it does not have any form of funding or financial support.
The project emerges from the constant and current aggressive, political rhetoric that displays the geographic and ideological border between the United States and Mexico as a threat. As border natives our perspectives of the border are not represented by the political discourse. We understand the borderland as a space where different cultures co-exist under strong political, economic, and social hegemonies; as well as, a space where regions influence each other, but maintain their own identities. As part of the borderlands communities we understand the importance of visualizing material from the region.
Maira E. Álvarez from the Laredo, Texas border and Sylvia A. Fernández from Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua/El Paso, Texas collaborate to visualize the richness of transnational periodical archives located along the U.S.-Mexico border region. Their academic background along with their personal interest is reflected on the Borderlands Archives Cartography (BAC) project. This material documents borderlands communities since the nineteenth century and contradicts the idea of the region as static, a recent division, and threat. This type of rhetoric about the border are not new since newspapers document how time after time national discourses utilize fear to “secure it” and demonize border residents and undermine their legitimacy just like it occurred during the Mexican Revolution, the Plan de San Diego revolt, the Mexican Repatriation, among other events mostly unknown to the general public. Our personal experience and current events has led us to speak out and continue searching for material to centralize and rehumanize the borderlands.
Borderlands Archives Cartography (BAC) is dedicated to locate, map, and facilitate the access of borderland periodicals. The objective of BAC is to visualize newspapers from both sides of the border in order to understand the region and its communities before and after it became a division line. This project takes a digital humanities platform to expand the notion of borders and facilitate the access to the material in order to promote diverse forms of research and communities involvement. Ultimately, BAC's goal is to create and support interdisciplinary alliances and communities across borders.