Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Crystal Bartolovich

Second Advisor

Danika Medak-Saltzman


Borders;Colonial Racial Capitalism;Incommensurability;Indigeneity;Latinidad;Solidarity


Engaging with contemporary Latinx and Indigenous border literatures, films, and other cultural productions, my dissertation considers the tensions between Latinx migration and Indigenous sovereignty, claiming that their uneasy relation demands sustained critical and political attention. While Latinx cross-border migration and Indigenous peoples’ sovereignty struggles share important connections in the context of a colonial racial capitalist system of oppression, they cannot be easily collapsed into each other. Expanding upon Marisol de la Cadena’s concept of “partial connection,” my dissertation counters theoretical discourses that insist on commonality as the basis for Indigenous and Latinx intragroup solidarities. Moving beyond Gloria Anzaldúa’s borderlands concept with its promise of hybridity, I instead focus on reading borders as sites of profound tension for Indigenous and Latinx groups. In doing so, I treat borders not as locations that automatically produce comradeship and mutual healing, but as conditions that demand reckoning with what Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang call the “unfriendliness” between contested positions. My dissertation proposes that literature, film, and other cultural texts can assist with the hard work of navigating these turbulent spaces, working through them instead of wishing them away.


Open Access

Available for download on Sunday, June 14, 2026