Mapping the Trail of Violence: The Memorialization of Public Space as a Counter-Geography of Violence in Ciudad Juárez

Abstract / Resumen / Resumo

Feminicide scholars have traditionally depicted Ciudad Juárez as a femicide machine— “an apparatus that didn’t just create the conditions for the murders of dozens of women and little girls, but developed the institutions that guaranteed impunity for those crimes and even legalized them.” This article employs critical Latin American geography and modernity/coloniality frameworks to offer a different interpretation by depicting the landscape of Ciudad Juárez as a counter-geography of violence assembled through the memorialization of feminicide and forced disappearance victims. A close analysis of protest objects such as monuments, memorial sites, black and pink crosses, graffiti, murals, and anti-feminicide protests—which I photographed during two field trips to Juárez—reveals that protest objects and bodies assembled throughout the city re-create an agonizing landscape to expose the effects of an inherited colonial gender structure that normalizes extreme gender violence. Based on this analysis, I argue that the memorialization of Ciudad Juárez’s landscape constitutes an attempt to decolonize existing gender relations that produce zones of female death by fostering spaces of care and solidarity.