San Miguel de Allende 

San Miguel de Allende

Photo Copyright © 2009 by Debra Lattanzi Shutika  



Place and Difference in the U.S. and Mexico

Xenophoblia/Xenophilia is a book-length examination of “community” through differential interpretations of local identity in locations where diverse groups of people come together to live in and share a geographic location, but use and interpret the landscape in distinct and often contradictory ways.  This project examines the idea of the “common good” and how communities negotiate priorities for lifestyle, aesthetics, and business development.

While these instances often occur in locations where two or more distinct ethnic groups share a common space, this work extends the scholarship on local assimilation and social difference by examining three related, but wholly distinct social contexts: the historic colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, home to a diverse group of Mexicans and predominantly white North American retirees; Berkeley Springs, WV, the Appalachian spa town that was first developed as a resort in the 18th century and now is a popular location for weekend homes and retirees from Washington, DC; and, finally, Manassas, Virginia, a Washington DC suburb with longstanding ties to southern culture, the Civil War and is home to increasing numbers of new Washington suburbanites and Latino immigrants.