Author Archives: Cynthia Renteria

About Cynthia Renteria

Cynthia T. Renteria is a historian, educator, and community organizer. Cynthia was born and raised in the borderland of El Paso, Texas. She grew up in the Val Verde neighborhood in South East Central El Paso. Listening to her grandfather’s stories from an early age, she learned the importance of history, civic participation, and organizing in Mexican-American and working communities.

Continuing the Conversation from the UTEP Borderlands History Conference 

This month The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) hosted the second annual Borderlands History Conference. The conference brings together scholars focusing on the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. This years theme Shifting Borders: Gender, Family, and Community provided a broad definition of borders resulting in panels that ranged in topic, time period, and expanded the geographic scope of the borderlands.

I attended the two-day event which included an oral history workshop, a keynote by Sonia Hernandez, and a line up of interesting panels that provided a myriad of perspective on this years theme. The conference also provided ample time to network with visiting scholars and included a closing dinner at a local restaurant and cultural center, Café Mayapan.

At the end of the conference Dr. Larissa Veloz wrapped up the concurrence by providing four questions for borderlands scholars to consider. I have to say that I am still thinking about these questions in regard to my own research and my work as a public historian.

1. How does it feel to be a “borderlander”? How do people make sense of their own lives?

2. What are the creative adaptations people living on the border make? Who are the new cultural brokers that emerge?

3. How does a focus on gender, family, and community reshape our understanding of the borderland and vice versa?

4. How are images and histories of the borderland transmitted outward and what is our role as historians and scholars?

Dr. Veloz also made another comment saying, “the field of borderlands continues to inform various historiographies.” That was certainly clear from this conference; it is also important to acknowledge the breadth of the field which is still growing. I know it is easy to get caught up in one’s own area of specialization, topic, and time period. However, these questions (especially number four) help me remember that my work is connected to the image of the Borderlands that is transmitted to other parts of the world where borders look different. I wonder how fellow historians, scholars, and even people living on a broder today, feel about these questions? I hope that this platform provides a space to continue the discussion about the different ways our scholarship engages with borderlands and concepts of borders. Please add your ideas to the comments section below!

Categories: conferences | 1 Comment

Black Lives Vigil on the Border

In El Paso, The Black Student Union (BSU) from The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP)and the group Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) hosted a vigil in memorial of Black Lives lost to unnecessary violence and to educate the community of the ongoing tragedies across the nation.

The community gathered at La Plaza de los Lagartos (San Jacinto Plaza) in the evening on Sunday, July 10. The plaza was filled with various organization and community members who stood in solidarity with BSU and PFLAG. Among the attendees were students from New Mexico State University who made a special trip to El Paso from Las Cruces, New Mexico to attend the vigil.

The press release circulated for this event  read “Black Student Union, BSU, is to promote activities of common interest, cultural and educational benefits for the African American students at UTEP,” it went on to quote the organizations president Shyla Cooks, “We have been far too silent for far too long.”

Organizers and leaders of the Black Student Union (BSU) Keyanna Robinson, Makeda Buggs, and Shyla Cooks shared a few words please click on their names to hear their message. These brave students continue the long legacy of community organizing and activism on the border. Through poems, speeches, and songs they joined their voice to the many speaking out about injustices faced by black communities and other minority groups across the United States.



Makeda Buggs, Black Student Union (on stage speaking)






Categories: Events, News and Announcements | Leave a comment

Vigilia por la Paz en Oaxaca

Last night in El Paso, Texas educators, students, and community organizers gathered at the Plaza de los Lagartos (San Jacinto Plaza) to show support and solidarity with the teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico. Many shared their thoughts about the injustice that continue happening in Mexico and the ones threatening our community on the border.

In a time of great tragedy and suffering across the world, we cannot forget the violence also occurring in Mexico. The people assembled at the gathering strongly supported the declacation, “En México la educación se paga con la vida! Alto a la represión en Oaxaca!”

Categories: Events | Leave a comment

Philosophy for Children in the Borderlands

This week the El Paso Herald-Post online featured University of Texas at El Paso, Assistant Professor Amy Reed-Sandoval’s Philosophy for Children program. Reed-Sandoval began the Philosophy for Children program on both sides of the border in 2014; working with children in Oaxaca, Mexico, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and El Paso.

“One of the primary goals of this documentary is to explore the ways in which the social, linguistic, political and historical contexts of the Mexico-U.S. border–and particularly El Paso and Ciudad Juarez–impact the sorts of philosophical questions that local children and community partners seek to answer,” Reed-Sandoval said.

Categories: Events, Exhibits, Films, Teaching/Professional Development | Leave a comment

La Mujer Obrera and Día de los Muertos

In El Paso, Texas- La Mujer Obrera, a local non-profit, women’s empowerment organization invites the community to celebrate Dia de los Muertos: Cosecha, Maiz y Mitote on October 31st, 2015 from 3pm-10pm at Cafe Mayapan, 2000 Texas Ave 79901. They’ll be featuring live music, traditional foods and artisans.

For more info, follow the link:

Categories: Events | Leave a comment

Parents of 43 Mexican Student Kidnaping Victims begin United States Tour in El Paso, Texas

A group representing the parents of the 43 students kidnapped in late September in Guerrero, Mexico will visit El Paso on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 to speak to about their children’s experiences and about the human rights violations occurring in Mexico.

The parent’s visit to El Paso forms part of a national speaking tour of the United States Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Borderlands History at the 2013 National Council on Public History Annual Meeting

From April 17 to April 20th the NCPH held its annual meeting. Four borderlands history PhD students at UT El Paso traveled to Ottowa this year to participate. Here is a brief summary of the panel, entitled:

The Contestation, Appropriation, and Production of Historical Memory in the Borderlands


By using a fairly loose geographical and metaphorical definition of Borderlands—anything from California to Louisiana, Texas and the Caribbean, or from Baja California to Tamaulipas and Nuevo León, the panelists will explore the ways in which groups and/or individuals have presented their particular visions of history in language, public venues and media, including museums, monuments, festivals, reenactments, historic preservation, architecture, and promotion of tourism.

Continue reading

Categories: News and Announcements | Leave a comment

UTEP Seminar Series: “’From the Moment I Made My Wedding Vows My Suffering Began’: A Divorce in the Mexican Frontier”

‎”’From the Moment I Made My Wedding Vows My Suffering Began’: A Divorce in the Mexican Frontier”

Dr. James Starling

Visiting Professor, History Department,
New Mexico State University

Friday, Sept. 28, 3:00 pm LART 323

The seminars are open to all UTEP faculty and graduate students and others who may be interested. Please mark your calendars. For further information contact Sandra McGee Deutsch at The Seminar Series is part of the College of Liberal Arts Alliance for Excellence. For further information contact Ron Weber at

Categories: News and Announcements | 1 Comment

Public Lecture at New Mexico State University by Dr. Deena Gonzalez

“A Girl and her Guy: The Strange Case of Maria Francisca Baca, 1741”

Friday, March 2, 2012 at 6pm

by Dr. Deena Gonzalez (Professor, Department of Chicano/a Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles). Continue reading

Categories: Uncategorized | 5 Comments

NMSU “Arriving in America” lecture series continues with Matthew Frye Jacobson

Matthew Jacobson (Yale University) will speak on “Race, Immigration, and Citizenship in the United States: The Irish Experience as Racial Odyssey” on Tuesday, February 7.

The lecture will begin at 7:30 pm, and will take place in the auditorium (room 101) at the College of Health and Social Services on the NMSU campus, near Jordan Road and University Avenue.

To reach this building, enter the NMSU campus on Jordan Road from University Avenue (near the Barnes and Noble bookstore). After you pass the bookstore, the College of Health and Social Services is to the right, at the far end of the parking area.

On Google Maps, it is identified as Memorial Tower (Health and Social Services).

Categories: News and Announcements | Leave a comment

Website Built with