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Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Program

English

Degree Type

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)

Year Degree Awarded

2017

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

queer, transgender, Mexico, immigration, natural history, border

Abstract

Deep in the library stacks, two transgender men unearth a moldy copy of the United States and Mexican Boundary Survey of 1857. The survey, in its dispassionate cataloging of every plant and animal unfortunate enough to be caught in the crosshairs of Manifest Destiny, energizes the nameless narrator and his lover Emilio to pen an alternative field guide to the border. The Book of New Fish rewrites the history of the Rio Grande through the eyes of its fish who—like the two trans men—bear witness to the violent beauty of living in between countries, identities, and genders. Covering ground from the Spanish conquistadors to invasive species and unraveling their relationship in the process, the project demands increasingly steep sacrifices of the main characters as they try to figure out why we hurt those we love most in the search for identity and belonging.

Available for download on Thursday, May 12, 2022

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