Author Archives: Brenden W. Rensink

About Brenden W. Rensink

Asst. Director, Charles Redd Center for Western Studies Asst. Professor, Dept. of History, Brigham Young University http://www.bwrensink.org

Bridging National Borders in North America, Summer Institute at the Newberry Library

The Newberry received an NEH grant to host a summer institute that just sounds amazing.  I presented there last year at their Borderlands and Latino Studies seminar series and it is a fun place.  3 weeks in Chicago – sounds like a fun way to spend the month of June.  Sign up y’all. Continue reading

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From the Bookshelf: Reséndez – A Land So Strange

I have been posting on my own website and blog, http://www.bwrensink.org, and when relevant to borderlands history I will begin cross-posting here.  Here is the most recent relevant post.

From the Bookshelf
Periodic musings on books I like.

Only once in my life as a historian has a book recommendation given to a friend actually turned out well. It was a couple of years ago, and a good friend of mine asked that I suggest a book he could give his father for Christmas.

I recommended the following:

Andrés Reséndez, A Land So Strange: The Epic Journey of Cabeza de Vaca
(New York: Basic Books, 2007)

I had just assigned the book for an undergraduate course on the pre-1900 U.S. West and students ate it up. I loved Reséndez’s much-praised first book, Changing National Identities at the Frontier: Texas and New Mexico, 1800-1850, but it was a much denser academic study that I probably wouldn’t suggest as casual reading to my friend or his father.

A Land So Strange, however, is one of those rare titles that:

  1. Covers a fascinating topic. The sub-subtitle tells it all: “The Extraordinary Tale of a Shipwrecked Spaniard Who Walked Across America in the Sixteenth Century.”
  2. Is well-written in engaging prose.
  3. Is well-researched.

Points 2 and 3 are the real kickers for suggesting books to friends and family. There are plenty of amazing academic books that won’t appeal to general readers. Likewise, there are plenty of popular books that don’t quite stack up as “academic” well-researched scholarship. When people ask for suggestions, as a historian I can’t give them a popular title that is based on shoddy scholarship. But, I know that giving them a well-research, but dense, tome won’t serve any better a purpose. A Land So Strange was a perfect fit. And, from what I hear – his father loved it! Continue reading

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Radical History Review CFP

Friend of the blog, Prof. Jason Ruiz (American Studies, Notre Dame) sent this along and would love to see some borderlands and transnational submissions. 

Let’s not disappoint him. 

Spread the word! Continue reading

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Borderlands at the Western History Association confererence, Tucson, October 9-12, 2013

( Originally posted at http://www.bwrensink.org )

I did this last year and thought it would be a good thing to do again.  Browsing through the conference program for next month’s Western History Association annual conference, I found the following panels and events that may appeal to borderlanders.  And, once again, borderlands are well represented! The program committee did a pretty good job of not double booking similar themed panels, as inevitably happens, but there are still some tough decision to make – especially for the Saturday 8:30-10:00 slot.  If you are hoping to mix in borderland with some other panels, you will definitely have some tough choices – there are a lot of cool topics being presented. There are some other borderlands/transnational themed papers peppered in other panels, but I am just going to list the full panels that focus on borderlands and transnational topics.  I hope to see everyone there, in the halls, snoozing in the backs of panels, at the bar (me drinking a Sprite, of course), etc… Continue reading

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Newberry Seminar in Borderlands and Latino Studies CFP Reminder

I apologize for re-posting, but think this is worth publicizing a bit more.  I presented in this seminar series back in 2012 and have a very positive experience.  Great people, great feedback on my work.  You still have 2 days to submit a proposal.  Send something in!

Call for Proposals and Instructions HERE:

Due April 25th

The Newberry Library Seminar in BORDERLANDS AND LATINO STUDIES

Co-sponsored by Indiana University’s Latino Studies Program, Northwestern University’s Program in Latina and Latino Studies, the
Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s History Department, the Center
for Latino Research at DePaul University, and the Katz Center for Mexican Studies at the University of Chicago

This seminar provides a forum for works-in-progress that explore topics in Borderlands and Latino studies. We seek proposals for seminar papers that examine the interplay of Latino people, communities, and culture in the United States; transnational and comparative “borderlands” studies; civil rights and social movements; and other related topics. We welcome proposals from scholars working in a broad range of academic fields, and are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches.

Continue reading

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The Newberry Library Seminar in Borderlands and Latino Studies, 2013-14 CFP

The Newberry Library Seminar in BORDERLANDS AND LATINO STUDIES

Co-sponsored by Indiana University’s Latino Studies Program, Northwestern University’s Program in Latina and Latino Studies, the
Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s History Department, the Center
for Latino Research at DePaul University, and the Katz Center for Mexican Studies at the University of Chicago

This seminar provides a forum for works-in-progress that explore topics in Borderlands and Latino studies. We seek proposals for seminar papers that examine the interplay of Latino people, communities, and culture in the United States; transnational and comparative “borderlands” studies; civil rights and social movements; and other related topics. We welcome proposals from scholars working in a broad range of academic fields, and are particularly interested in interdisciplinary approaches.

Continue reading

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Gunfire and a Manhunt in my Supposedly Quiet Bordered-Backyard

In December, I wrote about my experience growing up on “The Other Border.”  I explained how the proximity of a seemingly porous and un-militarized U.S.-Canadian border (much of it rural or remote mountain wilderness) violated some of our popular conceptions of what U.S. borders are like.  Of course, I have always known that plenty of illicit things go on along my quaint Whatcom County border with British Columbia, but this headline in the Bellingham Herald really caught my eye.

Gunfire near Sumas border sparks manhunt

“Sumas?” I thought.  “That tiny little border crossing in my county’s backyard?”  Indeed, it was that very Sumas.  I followed the story throughout the day yesterday.   It even got picked up by national news outlets like the L.A. Times and USA Today.  Naturally, the Canadian Press picked up on the story too, offering some great helicopter footage of the area.

Two men were eventually apprehended and 58.2 lbs of Amphetamine were recovered.

Continue reading

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“Straddling Boundaries” Conference

Registration is now OPEN for “Straddling Boundaries: Hemispherism, Cultural Identity and Indigeneity”, the inaugural international conference of the Culture and the Canada-US Border research network.

May 24-26 2013

Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

KEYNOTES: Margaret Noodin, Claudia Sadowski-Smith, Guillermo Verdecchia

For more details and to register, go to: http://www.kent.ac.uk/ccusb/events/algoma.html

Continue reading

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CFP – The Middle Ground Journal – “The Border in the Classroom: Approaches to Border Studies”

The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies Thematic Forum on “The Border in the Classroom: Approaches to Border Studies”

CALL FOR JOURNAL ARTICLES

Guest Editors: Benita Heiskanen and Andrae Marak

This thematic forum of The Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies will explore the multiple meanings of borders within the classroom context. While the initial series of articles will focus on the borders between Mexico and the U.S., we welcome articles with a focus on the K-12, undergraduate, or graduate classroom setting from various geographic viewpoints. This on-going thematic forum will consist of three types of contributions:

• Research Articles (5,000-7,000 words)
• Case Studies (3,000-4,000 words)
• Book Reviews (800-1,000 words)

The articles may deal with either historical perspectives or contemporary issues, and we particularly encourage interdisciplinary and multi-methodological approaches to studies of borders.  Articles, studies, or book reviews that use borders as a comparison case or use borders more generally as a conceptual or theoretical tool are also welcome.
For research articles and case studies: please send max. 300-word abstracts, together with one-page CVs, to both editors. For suggestions on book reviews on recent border scholarship, please send max. 150-word abstracts, together with one-page CVs, to both editors. Please email all contributions for the initial installment of the forum to benita.heiskanen@gmail.com and amarak@govst.edu by January 30, 2013. The final articles will be due on May 30, 2013.

For general inquiries concerning this forum, please email benita.heiskanen@gmail.com.

The Middle Ground Journal is an open-access, refereed publication published by the Midwest World History Association (MWWHA), an affiliate of the international World History Association (WHA). The Middle Ground is housed at and sponsored with generous support from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota.  The Middle Ground Journal is the common space shared between teachers and students, between research and teaching, among all levels and types of places of learning, and among different areas of specialization and methodological approaches.  More information on the journal is available at:

https://www.facebook.com/middlegroundjournal and at:

http://www2.css.edu/app/depts/HIS/historyjournal/index.cfm
General inquiries on the journal should be sent to Hong-Ming Liang, Chief Editor, HLIANG@CSS.EDU

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Growing up on The Other Border

First post in the Violating “The Border” series, which seeks to challenge and complicate our assumptions about U.S. borders and borderlands

To start off, let me introduce my old hometown stomping-grounds: Whatcom County, Washington. Continue reading

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