University of Richmond Anthropology Professors Receive National Award for Their Book on Border Walls and Citizenship

October 21, 2020

Fencing in Democracy Book CoverUNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND — University of Richmond anthropology professors Margaret Dorsey and Miguel Díaz-Barriga have received the Association of Latina and Latino Anthropologists’ 2020 Book Award.

The award recognizes the best book in anthropology written between 2018­ and 2020 and focusing on Latina, Latino, and Latinx communities.

Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga were selected for their book Fencing in Democracy: Border Walls, Necrocitizenship, and the Security State, which published in January of this year.

Fencing in Democracy culminates more than a decade of Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga’s research, where they studied the U.S.-Mexico border wall constructed by the Department of Homeland Security and observed the political protests and legal challenges that residents mounted in opposition to the wall.

“We studied border communities to understand how militarization affects the experiences of United States citizens,” said Dorsey. “We found that border residents of all political ideologies are overwhelmingly against border wall construction and the tenacity and creativity of border residents as they fight for democracy constantly surprised us.”

Books were judged on the basis of the originality of research, writing quality, and the importance of the topic in understanding the Latina, Latino, and Latinx experience in the United States, or in transnational communities linked to the U.S.

“Winning this highly competitive award is like reaching the brass ring. We are humbled and overjoyed that such a distinguished group of scholars recognizes our work as the best in the field,” said Díaz-Barriga, who serves as chair of UR’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga will be honored at the Association of Latina, Latino, Latinx Anthropologists’ annual meeting in November, which will be held virtually this year.


Media interested in connecting with Dorsey and Díaz-Barriga, contact Media Relations Specialist Lindsey Grow (