BorderLore is a free online journal documenting, sharing, and elevating folklife in the US-Mexico borderlands region. We publish six times a year to uplift folklife practices often “hidden in plain view” and to connect people across culture, tradition, and geography. 

One way to think about folklife is as “the embellishment of the ordinary,” or the ways we bring a particular “flair” to the things we make, say, and do in shared groups, based on family or cultural tradition, occupational custom, or creative practice developed and passed on over time. For instance:

  • Not just what you eat, but how it was prepared and by whom, and where, when, and how it is then enjoyed. For instance, a pizza pie made with nonna’s homemade tomato-basil sauce, dough starter from your cousin, baked in a backyard, brick-fired oven every year for your father’s your birthday celebration, to which everyone is to wear plaid pants and thick, black-rimmed glasses to honor him.
  • Not just what you say, but how, when, why, and to whom you say it. For instance, Hi, how are you? Good day, pleased to meet you. Whattup? Yo! What’s shakin’? Long time, no see.
  • Not just what you make, but how and why you make it. For instance, folding and cutting paper to make decorations, but doing so with large sheepshears, as in the Polish wycinanki tradition, with intricate detail and color.

BorderLore is published by the Southwest Folklife Alliance (SFA), an affiliate non-profit organization of the University of Arizona, housed within the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the designated Folk Arts Partner of the Arizona Commission on the Arts with the support of the National Endowment of the Arts. SFA’s mission is to build more equitable and vibrant communities by celebrating the everyday expressions of culture, heritage and diversity in the Greater Southwest.

Got a story you want us to tell? Send ideas to KimiEisele@arizona.edu

Editor: Dr. Maribel Alvarez 
Managing Editor: Kimi Eisele

Previous issues of BorderLore are archived here.

The study and documentation of folklife involves the accurate representation of people’s viewpoints in their own terms; quotes and opinions expressed in interviews with individual tradition bearers do not necessarily reflect the sentiments and opinions of BorderLore editors, the Southwest Folklife Alliance or any specific person or entity at the University of Arizona.

Write for us

We accept pitches from writers and photographers working in the Southwest. Please familiarize yourself with our focus areas. We are particularly interested in stories about culture and heritage outside of Tucson. We also love first-person narrative essays linking personal folklife to larger themes. We pay for stories. Send all pitches to KimiEisele@arizona.edu

Cover photo: Cáit NíSíomón

Skip to content