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Dr. Margaret   Dorsey
Dr. Margaret Dorsey
Professor of Anthropology
Profile

Margaret Dorsey is Professor of Anthropology at the University or Richmond and an award-winning author of Fencing in Democracy: Border Walls, Necrocitizenship and the Security State. In 2021, Dorsey’s students created a fabulous interactive website as part of their “Borders and Walls” course. 

Dorsey was an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) as well as founding curator of UTRGV’s bilingual Border Studies Archive. In addition to being a Visiting Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brooklyn College (CUNY), Dorsey completed an Ethel-Jane Westfeld Bunting Fellowship at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe. Her research focuses on border security, Mexican American folklore and border studies more generally.

Dorsey has published numerous articles on citizenship, borders and walls with Miguel Díaz-Barriga. In 2016, they co-curated an internationally-juried art exhibition at apexart in Manhattan and created a short documentary film for the American Anthropological Association on aesthetics and border walls.

Her other book-length publications include Linda Escobar and Tejano Conjunto Music and Pachangas: Borderlands Music, U.S. Politics, and Transnational Marketing.

Grants and Fellowships

P.D., Texas State Library and Archives Commission, TexTreasures Grant, “Digitizing Contamincion,” $24,600. (2018-2017)

P.D., National Endowment of the Humanities, Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions, “Preservation Assessment:  Border Studies Archive and Museum of South Texas History,”Co-P.D., Lisa McAdam, Museum of South Texas History, $6,000. (2015-2013)

P.D., Texas State Library and Archives Commission, TexTreasures Grant, “Digitizing Curanderismo,”(award includes matching funds) $25,000. (2014-2013)

Co-P.D., National Endowment for the Humanities, Bridging Cultures Initiative:  Humanities Initiatives for Faculty: Institutions with High Hispanic Enrollment, “From Porciones to Colonias: Inserting the Hispanic in a Hispanic Serving Institution through Curriculum Innovation,”University of Texas-Pan American, P.D. Russell Skowronek, Co-P.D.’s Margaret Dorsey, Sonia Hernandez, Edna Alfaro, $99,425. (2014-2011)

Co-P.I., National Science Foundation Grant, Cultural Anthropology Senior Advisory Panel, “A Nation Divided: The Border Wall, Immigration and Citizenship on the U.S. Mexico Border.” University of Pennsylvania, Co-P.I. M. Díaz-Barriga, $125,000. (2010-2009)

Co-P.I., National Science Foundation Grant, SGER Cultural Anthropology Division, “A Nation Divided: Immigration and Citizenship on the Border.” University of Pennsylvania, Co-P.I. M. Díaz-Barriga, $15,000 (2009-2008)

Awards
with M. Díaz-Barriga. New Directions Award from the General Anthropology Division of the American Anthropological Association for their research on border walls. This award recognizes work that presents anthropological perspectives to the general public through various mediums. (2021)

Best Conference Paper Prize with Díaz-Barriga, “Filling in the Gaps:  Walls Without Limits and Sovereignty with Exceptions,” Association for Borderlands Studies Annual Conference, $500. (2018)

Curator with M. Díaz-Barriga, Fencing In Democracy, apexart, New York. Won competition juried by 170 international artists to create exhibition on U.S. Mexico border security: travel, gallery space, materials, shipping, artist honorariums, brochures, $41,700. (2016-2014)

Presentations

“Fencing in Democracy,” CUNY Hunter, New York April 27 [postponed due to COVID 19]. (2020)

“Democracy and Exception,” American University, Washington DC, April-May [postponed due to COVID 19]. (2020)

“Agamben and Walls,” Agamben Conference and Symposium, Marshall University, April 3 [postponed due to COVID 19]. (2020)

“Racism and Walls,” Plenary at American Ethnological Society, Austin, Tx, March 26 [postponed due to COVID 19]. (2020)

“Fencing in Democracy,” Latin American & Caribbean Studies, Migration & Diaspora Studies, and Department of Geography, Carleton University, Canada, March 12. (2020)

“Lancement de Livre,” Lecture and Conversation with Marie Lamensch and Élisabeth Vallet, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies and Raoul-Danduran en Études Strategiques et Diplomatiques, Université, Concordia University, Canada, March 9. (2020)

“Border Walls, Citizenship and the Security State,” Departments of Sociology and Anthropology; Psychology, History, Philosophy, Religion & Classical Studies, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, English, African American Studies, World Languages and Cultures, Political Science and International Studies, The College of New Jersey. (2020)

“Fencing in Democracy,” Department of Anthropology, The College of William and Mary, February 19. (2020)

Conference co-organizer and panel moderator, Walls, Borders, and Partitions in a Global Perspective, University of Richmond, February 28. (2020)

“Border Walls, Necrocitizenship and the Security State,” In Common Discussion Series, Office of Common Ground and Boatwright Library, University of Richmond, February 17. (2020)

Co-organizer and co-chair roundtable, Junior Faculty Mentorship Program, Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists, Vancouver, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, November 22. (2019)

“Pushing the Border Out: Cyber Latinos in the Age of Walls,” American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Vancouver, November 21. (2019)

and Chair, With a Riata in Her Hand:  Honoring the Scholarship of Beverly Stoeltje, Vancouver, American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, November 21. (2019)

and Chair, With a Riata in Her Hand:  Honoring the Scholarship of Beverly Stoeltje Part I, Baltimore, American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, October 18. (2019)

and Chair, With a Riata in Her Hand: Honoring the Scholarship of Beverly Stoeltje Part II, Baltimore, American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, October 18. (2019)

Co-Organized talk at University of Richmond, People Power: Social Media and Political Space in Uganda East Africa, part of the African Film Weekend 2019 Lecture by Dr. Ogwang (Department of Literature and First Deputy Vice Chancellor Makerere University, Uganda), October. (2019)

“Walls, Militarization, and Citizenship on the U.S. Mexico Border,” Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, University of Richmond, February 15. (2019)

Co-Organized talk at University of Richmond, These Refugees, Lecture by Dr. Rosas (University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign), January. (2019)

Institutional Service

Elected to Budget, Priorities and Resources Committee, Division Two Position. (2020)

American Studies Advisory Board Member, University of Richmond. (2019-present)

Inclusive Pedagogy Cohort, University of Richmond. (2020-2019)

Migration, Nation and Identity Faculty Learning Community, Co-Chairs Lidia Radi and Kasongo Kapanga, University of Richmond. (2020-2018)

Community Service

Co-Chair, Junior Faculty Mentorship Committee, Association for Latina and Latino Anthropologists. (2019-present)

Advisory Board, Anthropology News. (2019-present)

Mentor, Graduate Student Mentorship Program, Association for Latina and Latino Anthropologists. (2018-present)

Editorial Board, The Journal for the Society of Anthropology of North America. (2015-present)

Selected Publications
Books

with M. Díaz-Barriga. Fencing in Democracy: Border Walls, NecroCitizenship and the Security State. Duke University Press. Awarded 2020 Best/First Place Book Award by ALLA, American Anthropological Association. (2020)

ed, with E. Alfaro, R. Bacha-Garza, S. Hernandez, and R. Skowronek. From Porciones to Colonias: The Power of Place- and Community-Based Learning in K-12 Education—A Case Study From the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Edinburg, TX: CHAPS at UTP. (2014)

Linda Escobar and Tejano Conjunto Music (book-length, multi-media, double-blind, peer-reviewed online publication) with EVIA (Ethnographic Video for Instruction and Analysis) Digital Archive Program. Mellon Foundation, University of Michigan and Indiana University. (2014)

Pachangas: Borderlands Music, U.S. Politics, and Transnational Marketing. Austin: University of Texas Press. Reviews: Latino Studies, Journal of Folklore Research, American Ethnologist, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. (2006)

Articles

with Díaz-Barriga, “The Constitution Free Zone in the United States: Law and Life in a State of Carcelment,” Political and Legal Anthropology Review, part of Symposium on Punishment and the State, ed. M. Brand Polanco 38(2):204-225. (2015)

with M. Díaz-Barriga. “Beyond Surveillance and Moonscapes: An Alternative Imaginary of the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall.” Visual Anthropology Review 26 (2):128-135. (2010)

with M. Díaz-Barriga. “Senator Barack Obama and Immigration.” Journal of Black Studies, Special Issue on the Barack Obama Phenomenon 38(1): 90-104. (2007)

Dorsey, Margaret. “Borderland Music as Symbolic Forms of Nationalism: The Best of Texas Tornados, Partners, and ¡Viva Luckenbach!”Latin American Music Review/Revista de Música Latinomericana 26 (1): 23-56. (2005)

Chapters

with Díaz-Barriga.“A New Border?: Multimedia Strategies for Representing Rural and Urban Spaces on the U.S.-Mexico Border,”in Bridging Cultures: Reflections on the Cultural Heritage of the Borderlands, eds. W. Dupont and H. Romo, Texas A&M Press. (forthcoming)

with Díaz-Barriga.“>Reticulating the Security State: Technological States of Exception and Border Walls,” in A World of Walls, eds. Randall McGuire and Laura McAtackney, School for Advanced Research/University of New Mexico Press. (2020)

with Díaz-Barriga. “Filling in the Gaps:  Walls without Limits and Sovereignty with Exceptions,” in Architecture on the Borderline: Boundary Politics and Built Space, ed. Anoma Pieris, Routledge, 157-178. (2019)

with M. Díaz-Barriga.“Exceptional States and Insipid Border Walls,”in Anthropological Visions of the Mexico-U.S. Transborder Region, eds. Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez and Josiah Heyman, University of Arizona Press, 71-88. (2017)

Films

with M. Díaz-Barriga produced an ethnographic film, World on the Move, for the American Anthropological Association, World on the Move: 100,000 Years of Human Migration. (2016)

Education
Ph.D., Indiana University 2002
Departments of Anthropology and Communication & Culture: minor in Ethnomusicology & Folklore
M.A., 2000
Departments of Anthropology and Communication & Culture
B.A., Southwestern University 1996
Sociology and Political Science, Cum Laude
Contact Information
106 Weinstein Hall
(804) 289-1770