Immigrants, Scientists, and Butterflies: Depicting Cultural and Biological Diversity in Conservation Photography of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 2007-2019
AbstractThis article examines the work of conservation photographer Krista Schlyer who documented the impact of the U.S.-Mexico border wall on people, wildlife, and the land between 2009 and 2012. While scholars in the environmental humanities have previously analyzed literary and artistic representations of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, this is the first analysis of how conservation photography portrays biodiversity in the borderlands. I analyze Schlyer’s works including Continental Divide (2012), a collection of photography, and Ay Mariposa (2019), a documentary film, in the historical context of the controversy concerning the environmental consequences of border wall construction that escalated during the 2016 election cycle and under the Trump administration. I argue that Schlyer’s work depicts the intersection of cultural and biological diversity in the borderlands in such a way as to unsettle and transcend oppositions of nature-culture and human-animal. These findings have implications for cultural productions that advocate for social and environmental justice.
How to Cite
Perret, M. (2022). Immigrants, Scientists, and Butterflies: Depicting Cultural and Biological Diversity in Conservation Photography of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 2007-2019. Sites: A Journal of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.11157/sites-id488