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Exposing what was once invisible


Television shows like Ozark, the Queen of the South, Narcos and Breaking Bad exist to entertain us.

For many people in Central America and Mexico, these narratives of drug cartel culture are less than glamorous.

These forms of literature reflect unnerving realities of violence and crime, forcing many to migrate to the United States to escape the dangers they face. Some never make it.

Dr. Judith Martínez, assistant professor of world languages and cultures at Missouri State University, is determined to make the reality of forced migration visible.

“Everybody talks about how beautiful Mexico is … but why are people coming over in caravans every day?” she said. “Why are people willing to risk their lives completely to cross into situations that are unbearable just so they can survive?”

Martínez’s current research is focused on neoliberal violence that started in Central America and Mexico in the 1990s. Her ultimate goal is to change reality and seek justice and dignity for all.

Using literature to teach reality

One step toward her goal is educating others about the dangers of forced migration. Martínez shares stories and books about migration with her students to educate them.

She explains that literature…

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