The Documented Border: An Open Access Digital Archive

Celeste González de Bustamante, Associate Professor of Journalism

This project is a stellar example of interdisciplinary scholarship among UA faculty. The team included journalism faculty Celeste González de Bustamante and Jeannine Relly, Lawrence Gipe from the School of Art, and the UA Library Special Collections Borderlands Curator Verónica Reyes-Escudero. The four joined forces to collect images and oral histories for a website about the U.S./Mexico border in order to advance understanding of the border and its peoples. This project combined multiple creative and research strategies to generate an innovative contribution to the growing field of the “digital humanities.”

The site contains images and oral histories about the U.S./Mexico border, with the overarching goal of advancing understanding and awareness of the border and its peoples. It functions as a repository and an interactive tool, resulting in long-lasting benefits for faculty and student research, journalists, and the community at-large. The project also produced a chap book by Lawrence Gipe called Operation Streamline, which features Gipe’s illustrations of the court proceedings, which are not allowed to be photographed or videotaped. Gipe’s drawings provide a unique record of the journey of undocumented migrants.

The launch of the website on Oct. 8, 2014 featured award-winning/best-selling Mexican-American poet, novelist and essayist Luis Urrea. 

Other project results include:

  • Drs. Gonzalez de Bustamante and Relly had their study Silencing Mexico: A Study of Influences on Journalists in the Northern States published in the January 2014 issue of the International Journal of Press/Politics.
  • Drs. Gonzalez de Bustamante and Relly are working on a manuscript and a book proposal thanks to the seed money to conduct research. The professors were able to travel to cities along the entire U.S.-Mexico border to interview journalists because of this seed grant.
  • Drs. Gonzalez de Bustamante and Jeannine Relly served as panelists for “Reporting Amid Chronic Threat” at the Investigative Reporters and Editors annual conference in San Antonio, June 2013.
  • Dr. Relly served as a panelist, “Ethics and methods in conflict: Interdisciplinary perspectives on the promise and peril of working in dangerous contexts,” Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts, The University of Arizona, January 2014.
  • Dr. Relly served as a speaker, “Transnational and domestic policy networks and institutional change: A study of the collective action response to violence against journalists in Mexico,” Faculty Fellows Luncheon, Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, The University of Arizona, December 2013.
  • Dr. Relly served as a panelist, “Conducting research on and about the border: legal and safety issues,” Border Safety Workshop, The University of Arizona, Santa Cruz Learning Center, Nogales, Arizona, August 2013.
  • Dr. Relly served as a panelist on Confluencenter’s Tucson Festival of Books panel on "Voices Across Borders" March 2014.

Media coverage:

01.12.15: The Documented Border with Luis Alberto Urrea KXCI 

10.08.14: Tonight: Luis Alberto Urrea and The Documented Border Exhibit Tucson Weekly

10.07.14: New Exhibit Preserves Untold Stories from US-Mexico Border Arizona Public Media

10.07.14: Border Journalism Focus of UA Exhibit Arizona Daily Star

10.07.14: New Digital Archive Details Challenges for Mexican Journalists, Migrants UA News

02.12.14: Dangers of Reporting in Mexico Politics of Mexico (blog)

Last updated on March 15, 2017.