An incisive portrait of nationalism in the United States, Grandmothers on Guard tells the story of older women who found meaning and community in the Minutemen, an anti-immigrant vigilante movement.
For about a decade, one of the most influential forces in US anti-immigrant politics was the Minuteman Project. The armed volunteers made headlines patrolling the southern border. What drove their ethno-nationalist politics?
Jennifer L. Johnson spent hundreds of hours observing and interviewing Minutemen, hoping to answer that question. She reached surprising conclusions. While the public face of border politics is hypermasculine—men in uniforms, fatigues, and suits—older women were central to the Minutemen. Women mobilized support and took part in border missions. These women compel us to look beyond ideological commitments and material benefits in seeking to understand the appeal of right-wing politics. Johnson argues that the women of the Minutemen were motivated in part by the gendered experience of aging in America. In a society that makes old women irrelevant, aging white women found their place through anti-immigrant activism, which wedded native politics to their concern for the safety of their families. Grandmothers on Guard emphasizes another side of nationalism: the yearning for inclusion. The nation the Minutemen imagined was not only a space of exclusion, but also one in which these women could belong.
- Introduction. Border Politics and Invisible Women
- Chapter 1. Granny Brigades and Political Spectacle at the US-Mexico Border
- Chapter 2. Doing Old Womanhood at the Edge of the Nation-State
- Chapter 3. Grandma Grizzlies to the Rescue of Family and Nation
- Chapter 4. Misogyny Minuteman-Style and Women Tough Enough to Take It
- Chapter 5. Bringing the Border Back Home
- Conclusion. From Republican Motherhood to Patriotic Grandmotherhood
- Appendix. Walking the Line