Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and MexicoBeyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico (2011) University of California Press.

Winner of the 2012 Chicago Folklore Prize

Since the 1990s, migration from Mexico to the United States has moved beyond the borderlands to diverse communities across the country, with the most striking transformations in American suburbs and small towns. This study explores the challenges encountered by Mexican families as they endeavor to find their place in the U.S. by focusing on Kennett Square, a small farming village in Pennsylvania known as the “Mushroom Capital of the World.” In a highly readable account based on extensive fieldwork among Mexican migrants and their American neighbors, Debra Lattanzi Shutika explores the issues of belonging and displacement that are central concerns for residents in communities that have become new destinations for Mexican settlement. Beyond the Borderlands also completes the circle of migration by following migrant families as they return to their hometown in Mexico, providing an illuminating perspective of the tenuous lives of Mexicans residing in, but not fully part of, two worlds.

You can also read the first chapter here.

Beyond the Borderlands is available for purchase here.

Praise for Beyond the Borderlands

Beyond the Borderlands is a valuable addition to the growing literature on America’s new immigrant destinations. Full of wonderful descriptions and insightful observations, this detailed study shows how Mexicans are making a place for themselves in one Pennsylvania town and reshaping the community in complex and unexpected ways.” -Nancy Foner, author of In a New Land: A Comparative View of Immigration

“Debra Lattanzi Shutika offers a penetrating analysis. Her sensitive and insightful examination sheds bright light on the meaning of place, identity, and belonging in the United States today and constitutes essential reading for anyone seeking to comprehend the changing character of American society.” -Douglas S. Massey, Henry G. Bryant Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

“In the early twenty-first century, scholars continue to expand the boundaries of our field in creative and provocative ways. This year’s recipient of the Chicago Folklore Prize for the best scholarly monograph in folklore does exactly that. Debra Lattanzi Shutika’s Beyond the Borderlands: Migration and Belonging in the United States and Mexico, published by the University of California Press in 2011, is an exemplary work of folkloristic ethnography. It greatly enriches our appreciation and understanding of how migrants from Mexico continually negotiate and renegotiate their binational sense of place and sense of belonging in two closely connected communities—one in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, and one 2,300 miles away in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the self-proclaimed “mushroom capital of the world.”
-Chicago Folklore Prize Selection Committee

My most recent article, “Place and the Politics of Belonging in American Suburbia,” appears in the edited volume The Role of Place Identity in the Perception, Understanding, and Design of Built Environments (Hernan Casakan and Fátima Bernardo, eds.) is available for download here.


My short story “Mirrors” was published in Abundant Grace: The Seventh Collection of Fiction by D.C. Area Women (edited by Richard Peabody).

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