Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-14-2014

Major Department or Program

Environmental Humanities


Don Snow


This thesis is an exploration of rhizomatic thinking. It sets Border politics in conversation with Foucault’s Madness and Civilization and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Foucault’s Madness challenges the binary between reason and madness by overburdening madness with a multiplicity of spaces and identities, while Alice’s Adventures reveals the ways in which overburdening space and oversignifying language can decenter identity. The thesis discusses how binary thought processes that give rise to the Border, the confinement of madness, neocolonial enslavement, and the prison-industrial complex can and must be deterritorialized to prevent the neoliberal U.S. State’s organization and striation of space and people. This thesis suggests that by purposefully overburdening space, as well as individual and group identity, with overlapping strata of meaning, and by oversignifying language with the multiplicity of discourse, binaries can be complemented by rhizomatic thought.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Operation Gatekeeper (U.S.) -- Evaluation, Semiotics -- Signifier and Signified, Other (Philosophy) -- Political aspects, Neoliberalism -- 21st century -- Criticism and interpretation, Rhizome -- Philosophy, Michael Foucault (1926-1984) -- Madness and civilization, Lewis Carroll (1832-1898) -- Alice’s adventures in Wonderland -- Analysis, Mexican-American Border Region -- Emigration and immigration -- Criticism and interpretation, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2014 -- Environmental Humanities

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Public Accessible Thesis

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