Ryan Legassicke is a PhD candidate (ABD) in Communication & Culture, which is a joint program between York University and Toronto Metropolitan University. His research is situated at the intersection of visual culture, media studies, art history, and political geography. The focus of his dissertation is tracing and analyzing visual and discursive rhetoric related to the militarization of the US / Mexico border from the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2015 to the end of his presidency in 2021, which included a border wall design competition and the production of eight wall prototypes. Here discourse regarding national security, crime, international relations, public policy, and human rights overlapped with questions of aesthetics, design, and national identity. Borders are the active embodiment of political policy, one that is symbolic in nature. Through media representation and digital technology, their production and reproduction extend beyond specific locations, informing our geographic imagination and contributing that a border security industrial complex. Borders rhetoric functions to manage an unequal global economy by regulating social mobility, creating difference, and denying a global sense of place that results in potentially deadly consequences.
Communication & Culture, York University