IN THE BORDERLANDS:
ROOTED IN PLACE AND MIGRATION
From the Beginning
We understand that our future is now—and from an Indigenous perspective, we understand that the future is connected to our past and the past of our ancestors. Our simultaneity is what makes this Center, as well as our ASU and Arizona communities, unique—we have the courage to ask impossible questions—What is the language we need to live right now? Whose freedom must I also imagine in imagining my own? What will it require, of pain or joy, for us to become human? Migration is an expression of land’s imagination, it is one of many movements of desire for both human and non-human life. Through these migrations—of body, story, and wonder—we cross borders and realize new ones. The CIB is invested in known and improvisational practices that disrupt the land- and time-scapes which articulate these borders.
Arizona is a crucible for the many questions we find ourselves asking regionally, nationally and throughout the world—the futurities of water, land, language, borders, migration, race, extraction, art, surveillance technology, incarceration, abolition, the body, etc. ASU is a unique space with critical capacities to broaden these conversations because Arizona is a space of tension, a tension that necessitates thoughtful action and innovation. CIB was born from the realization that tension is not a condition of who we are but an energy we can use to create conditions for the freedoms we each imagine.
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. Diaz's second collection, Postcolonial Love Poem was published by Graywolf Press in 2020. She is a Macarthur Foundation Fellow, Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded a Bread Loaf Fellowship, the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a U.S. Artists Ford Fellowship, and Princeton University's Hodder Fellowship. Diaz teaches at the Arizona State University Creative Writing MFA program.
Program Manager, CIB
Gionni Ponce is a Macondista prose writer living in Tempe, Arizona. She’s received fellowships and scholarships from the Community of Writers Workshop, Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers’ Conference, Fine Arts Work Center, and Indiana University’s Writer in South Asia program. Wherever she goes, she aims to create literary space for traditionally marginalized stories, both in her administrative work and as a teacher. While teaching at IU, she was awarded the Earle J. S. Ho Award for Teaching Creative Writing and the Culbertson First Year Teaching Award. Her work is published in Kenyon Review Online, South Carolina Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Ocotillo Review, and Poiesis. She is currently working on a short story collection centered on bilingualism as a site of conflict in multi-generational Mexican-American families. Learn more on Twitter: @GPisMe.
Program Manager, Mellon
Thanh (Bee) Tran
Thanh (Bee) Tran first began working at ASU in 2015. She’s worked across several departments on business processing including purchasing, reimbursements, travel, contractor/ SAP payments, and grants. In August of 2022, she joined CIB as the Mellon Program Manager, bringing her wide breadth of business knowledge to the Center. Bee enjoys reading science fiction that focuses on dystopian futures or time travel. She’s traveled extensively throughout the world, visiting over 30 countries with plans to visit more once her two daughters are older. Bee also enjoys cooking dishes from Southeast Asia including oppo squash soup, bitter melon soup, and caramelized pork.Bee’s long-term goal is to one day establish scholarships and free tutoring services for children in Vietnam, where she was born, to increase their access to education.
Mellon Postdoctoral Scholar
Sam Aros Mitchell
Sam Aros Mitchell (enrolled with the Texas Band of Yaqui Indians) is a postdoctoral scholar at Arizona State University at the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands. Sam earned a Ph.D. in Theater and Performance Studies at the University of California, San Diego, where he was a Presidential Dissertation Fellow. Sam earned his M.F.A. in Dance Theatre from the University of California, San Diego and a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has performed and taught theater and dance professionally for over 25 years. Sam has performed with New Native Theater, performing in two play readings, Tewa Rising, written by Jaren Navenma and Salt Baby, written by Falen Johnson. Sam’s publishing company, Aros and Son Publishing, has just recently published a collection of poetry titled, Longview Road, written by Yaqui poet and writer, Manny Monolin.