Class Year

2013

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Earth Science and Geography Department

First Advisor

Joseph Nevins

Abstract

This paper is inspired by the literal intersection of two walking bodies, the hiker and the migrant, in the “Most Dangerous Park In America.” In Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, located on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, while the National Park Service and other actors authorize hikers to appreciate nature, migrants suffer in nature under their supervision. In this thesis I explore the relationship between the construction of nature and the differentiation of bodies, with its real and violent consequences. I argue that wilderness in Organ Pipe was never a nature sanctuary; rather it was created, and is continually recreated, through the apparatus of boundary-making and the exclusion of bodies and activities that are perceived as ecologically other to wilderness, or what I term “anti-nature.” Through an examination of walking in nature, my research suggests that nature, identity, and mobility are deeply intertwined, producing in each other danger, beauty, safety, etc. When in 2012 previously closed sections of Organ Pipe Cactus were reopened, nature and walking had become militarized as a way to “take back the land” from immigration. I argue that militarized nature supports the privileged mobility of national U.S. bodies while ignoring, and even perpetuating, the harm faced by non-U.S. bodies. By examining the making of our divided natures, I hope to simultaneously challenge border violence and unsettle our monolithic conception of wilderness.

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