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Fronteras: Exploring the 'deeper beat of cultural heritage' along the Texas-Mexico border

Residents along the Texas-Mexico borderlands are often tasked with dispelling misconceptions about their home.

While the region does see a high number of migrants and asylum seekers, it’s also filled with deep cultural and familial connections.

Borderland writers ranging from architects, to economists, to educators are sharing their own perspectives on the missing pieces of borderlands history in the book, “Bridging Cultures: Reflections on the Heritage Identity of the Texas-Mexico Borderlands.”

In the book, the borderlands refers to spaces far beyond the cities located on the actual border: It encompasses borderland heritage hundreds of miles north and south of the Rio Grande or Rio Bravo.

The book features chapters ranging from the enduring cultural practice of quinceañeras, to wildlife along the border, to how border artists capture everyday life.

William Dupont, director of Center for Cultural Sustainability at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Harriett Romo, former director of the UTSA Mexico Center, are co-editors of the essay collection.

Texas Public Radio / Marian Navarro
"Bridging Cultures: Reflections on the Heritage Identity of the Texas-Mexico Borderland" is edited by Harriett D. Romo and William A. Dupont. The collection of essays explores the historical and cultural background of the borderland region.

Romo explained why it was important to highlight the borderlands and the stories that are often left out of mainstream media.

“This is a heritage that’s there and that people don’t talk about and don’t know about,” she said. “It is terribly misunderstood when you just focus on the violence or conflicts on the border.”

Dupont says while he hopes the book shows the future prosperity of the border, it also emphasizes a need for different disciplines to come together in solving problems.

“I hope it illuminates some of the issues that are existing in the borderland so people can better understand the full story of what’s visible to anyone who takes the time to look,” he said.

Listen to part 1 of the conversation here.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1
Marian Navarro produces for Texas Public Radio's Morning Edition and Fronteras.