Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.
Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.
Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
queer, transgender, Mexico, immigration, natural history, border
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.