The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story
Dr. Aaron Bobrow-Strain
Professor of Practice
Abstract: When Aida Hernandez was born in 1987 in Agua Prieta, Mexico, the nearby U.S. border was little more than a worn-down fence. Eight years later, Aida’s mother took her and her siblings to live in Douglas, Arizona, just across the line. By then, the border was on its way to becoming one of the most heavily policed sites in the United States. The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez follows Aida through her optimistic, tough childhood; family separation; immigration detention; deportation; and into the tangles of a vast border security industrial complex. Aida fights for her life and risks everything to get from a place of imposed “social death” to a place where she is not just surviving the world we have created on the border, she is thriving, truly alive. This book talk weaves together history and political economy of U.S. border policies with explorations of the boundaries between academic writing, activism, and narrative nonfiction. It examines how the border came to be the way it is today, how it could be different, and what it means to write about the border today.