what is borderlands?


 Borderlands is an online multimedia publication that seeks to uplift the voices of wild-tongued artists, storytellers, dangerous thinkers, and unapologetic visionaries in the EMW Bookstore community and beyond.



Our social imaginary is fraught with borders: east/west, white/colored, male/female, native/migrant, first/third world, nature/culture, and myriad configurations of self/other. These dichotomies divide humanity into convenient binaries, alienating us from the full textures of our lived experiences.

We recognize that such categories serve to lubricate levers of power—to sanction one race over another, one gender over another, one culture over another. The danger of categorization, as Toni Morrison writes, is that “definitions belong to the definers, not the defined.”

Borderlands seeks to re-seize the definitions placed upon us and take back the power these communities have in defining themselves. By uplifting lesser-told narratives, we exemplify the futility of trope and stereotype. By resisting stale categorizations of identity and genre, we embrace the human longing for knowledge and creation as it blooms in all of us. 

Yet if "we all bleed red," why are some bodies bloodied routinely and systematically? The color of our skin, the body parts we have, and the accent of our speech ground us in a historical and material context. Categorizations of identity must be challenged as the allocating lines of political, economic and social capital. These borders are violently enforced and enacted without our consent.

Growing out of the EMW Bookstore community, Borderlands seeks to amplify the voices and visions of all artists, storytellers, and thinkers who challenge conceptual borders within ourselves and in the world. Fiercely speak your truth so as to radically reimagine a future that doesn't hurt so much. As Gloria Anzaldúa writes, "Wild tongues cannot be tamed. They can only be cut out." 

We call on all wild-tongued artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers, designers, engineers and scientists to travel with us to the borderlands of identity, genre and thought. This is where everything we are meets everything that is infinite. We are the rabble-rousers, the dangerous thinkers, the unapologetic visionaries. Rather than the mere reproduction of “what is expected” as demarcated by societal boxes, dare to demand, “what is possible?” 

Somewhere beyond category and definition, there is a field. We will meet you there.