Hasian, M. A., Maldonado, J. A., & Ono, K. A. (2015). Thanatourism, Caminata Nocturna, and the Complex Geopolitics of Mexico’s Parque EcoAlberto. Southern Communication Journal, 80 (4), 311-330. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1041794X.2015.1043138.
During the Summer of 2014, I conducted fieldwork in El Alberto, Hidalgo, México. El Alberto is a small Hñähñú (Otomí) community that has recently received media attention for La Caminata Nocturna, a particular attraction of Parque EcoAlberto. La Caminata Nocturna is an elaborate simulation of an illegal border crossing. Volunteers from the Hñähñú community play a variety of roles: from pollero or coyote, to migra, to migrant. La Caminata Nocturna has caught the attention of visitors from all parts of Mexico as well as from other parts of the world. I became interested in this simulacrum because, even though I am an immigrant and even though I have lived as an undocumented immigrant for many years, I thankfully never had to cross the border illegally or trek across the desert. Still, running from the migra has become one of the tropes of (post)modern migrations. I had to return to México in order to be symbolically apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol–deep in the mountains of Hidalgo–a symbolic ritual which allows people from different social, political, ethnic, and national backgrounds to access a variety of fantasies.
In March of 2015, I presented “Tlapalli: Theorizing the colors of border femicide in El Peso de Chihuahua” in the Waterhouse Family Institute Symposium in Villanova University: Communication, Postcoloniality, and Social Justice: Decolonizing Imaginations. It was a one-of-a-kind gathering of scholars interested in strengthening the presence of transnational voices within the discipline.
In November of 2014 I presented “El Chingáo Bicentenario: A Vernacular Analysis of Rius’s 2010: Ni Independencia Ni Revolución” at the National Communication Association Annual Convention in Chicago, IL. I am particularly fond of this essay because it was quite a challenge in translation: from Náhuatl to Spanish to English; with various explanations therein. In July of 2014, while visiting Mexico City, I happened upon an art gallery where Rius (Eduardo del Rio) was presenting his memoir, Mis Confesiones: Memorias Desmemoriadas (2014).
For more on my research feel free to contact me at xangelmaldonado at gmail dot com