My name is Jill Holslin, and I’m a writer, photographer and border activist living in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. I focus on two issues: the U.S.-Mexico border wall and urban art and culture in Tijuana and our border region.
You can reach me at my email address here: email@example.com
In 2006, the U.S. Congress passed the “Secure Fence Act of 2006,” mandating that 700 miles of double-layered reinforced fencing–a wall–be built to achieve “operational control” over the border between the U.S. and Mexico. And many in Congress believe that we should keep building walls and throwing money at the border until we can stop 100% of the unauthorized activity, 100% of the time. In June 2012, DHS announced a new “National Border Strategy” which builds upon the earlier strategic plan issued after 9-11 when our border was reframed as a national security problem.
In 2008, locals put up a lot of resistance in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, when people learned that their private property, local parks, wildlife reserves and wilderness areas were all going to be blocked off by a wall whose contours and trajectory would be determined by bureaucrats in Washington D.C. Consultation with local experts and land managers was avoided, to facilitate the most rapid construction possible. Consequently, governnment indifference and avoidance of local consultation has resulted in a wall that caves in, that has disrupted key wildlife corridors and has not stopped human migration, but only made it far more deadly and dangerous.
I got involved here in San Diego/Tijuana and joined the national coalition No Border Wall in the summer of 2008. Locally, I started hiking along our border, photographing construction at Smuggler’s Gulch, Goat & Yogurt Canyons, Friendship Park and Otay Mountain Wilderness. In the absence of media coverage of the construction, research and writing about the history of the border wall in San Diego/Baja California soon became the subject of my first blog.
The work of our national coalition No Border Wall provided a lot of research support, and helped me put our local experience into the context of the broader national strategies just emerging in the second Bush administration. Made up of grassroots organizers, professional environmental and human rights advocates, policy analysts based in Washington D.C. and elsewhere, as well as artists, writers, photographers and filmmakers, we were all united in the belief that a border wall will not stop unauthorized immigration nor make the United States any safer.
In June 2011, I moved to Tijuana, and I’ve gained a new perspective on the wall, on the consequences of the militarization of the border, and seen many old familiar landscapes from a new point of view.
I work in the Rhetoric & Writing Studies Department at San Diego State University, where I teach writing courses focused on civic discourse and the role of writing in political advocacy. I’m also fascinated by street & graffiti art, emerging urban culture in Tijuana.
This year, I began to exhibit my photographs, and my project, titled Rastros, is on exhibit from June 8-July 12 at Studio 2287, in Pasaje Rodriguez, downtown Tijuana. The project focuses on the traces left by migrants as they pass along the border wall.
Through drawings, inscriptions of names and places, and other messages, we can discover another reality of the border wall, marks of an itinerary of everyday life that is very well-known, yet almost invisible.
Click here JillHolslinVita2012
Like many thousands of other academics, I have lots letters I could place behind my name, I was once awarded a prestigious fellowship, traveled to the UK to do archival research at the Bodleian and British Libraries, enjoyed the good company of colleagues at many conferences (both in the U.S. and abroad) whose lives and work were far more fascinating than my own. For several years, I entered into a debate about modernity and orientalism in the early modern (Renaissance) period, and completed scholarship which largely revolves around the analysis of “the East” and “Islam” and “the Turks” in early English drama and literature.