The concept of North American borderlands in the cultural imagination fluctuated greatly during the Progressive Era as it was affected by similarly changing concepts of identity and geopolitical issues influenced by the Mexican Revolution and the First World War. Such shifts became especially evident in films set along the Mexican and Canadian borders as filmmakers explored how these changes simultaneously represented and influenced views of society at large.
Borderland Films examines the intersection of North American borderlands and culture as portrayed through early twentieth-century cinema. Drawing on hundreds of films, Dominique Brégent-Heald investigates the significance of national borders; the ever-changing concepts of race, gender, and enforced boundaries; the racialized ideas of criminality that painted the borderlands as unsafe and in need of control; and the wars that showed how international conflict significantly influenced the United States’ relations with its immediate neighbors. Borderland Films provides a fresh perspective on American cinematic, cultural, and political history and on how cinema contributed to the establishment of societal narratives in the early twentieth century.