Events

CFP: New Directions in Black Western Studies

Dear readers, a call for submissions is on going for an upcoming workshop on Black Western Studies at the 57th Annual Western Historical Association, which will be held in San Diego from November 1-4, 2017. The organizers are also planning a special issue on “New Directions in Black Western Studies” for the quarterly interdisciplinary journal, American Studies. Papers accepted for the workshop will be considered for inclusion in the special issue. 

Scholars of Borderlands studies, among other research fields, are encouraged to apply. The deadline to do so is June 30th; submit your abstract (max: 500 words) via email to Jeannete Eileen Jones, Kalenda Eaton and Michael Johnson.

From the announcement:

For both the workshop and the journal we are interested in what it means to read the North American West as a Black space with varied and deep possibilities.. By this we mean, how the concept of presenting/representing the West is informed by black identities and identity-making, rival geographies tied to black mobility, black culture, black knowledge production, black arts, and black literatures. The WHA workshop and AMSJ special issue  will fill a gap in American Studies by bringing Black Western Studies into current dialogue with other fields of American Studies that focus on the intersections between race, ethnicity, and place/geography.

For more information, follow the link.

 

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BHB at AHA 2017

We’ll be at the American Historical Association meeting in Denver this week and we’d like to invite you to our panel if you’re in town. Lina, Mike, Kris, and Jenny will be talking about their experience working with the blog and the role that digital humanities can play in thinking and teaching about the U.S.-Mexico border. Their roundtable will be held in room 401 of the Colorado Convention Center (Meeting Room Level) on Thursday, January 5th from 3:30-5pm. Continue reading

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Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Mario T. Garcia, October 26, 2016

The UTEP Department of History hosted “Honoring the Legacy of Dr. Mario T. Garcia: A Graduate Student Roundtable Discussion of Chicana/o Movement History,” as part of the University’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni, on Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at the Rubin Center Auditorium on the University campus.

According to the UTEP History Department, Dr. Mario T. Garcia received his BA and MA from the Department of History at UTEP in 1966 and 1968 respectively. He then went on to complete his Ph.D. at the University of California at San Diego.  He is the author of several influential books, including Desert Immigrants: The Mexicans of El Paso, 1880-1920, which focuses on the history of El Paso between 1880 and 1920; as well as The Chicano Movement: Perspectives from the Twenty-First Century; The Latino Generation: Voices of the New America; and Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational Justice. He has published approximately twenty titles in all.  Dr. Garcia has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is currently a distinguished professor of History and Chicano studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has been a faculty member for 41 years. The roundtable included student discussions of their research in Chicana/o history, followed by comments from Dr. Mario T. Garcia about his life’s work.  In his presentation, Dr. Garcia spoke about his development as a historian and his challenges and opportunities in writing Chicana/o history.

Dr. Jeffrey Shepherd, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, opened the session and Dr. Ernesto Chavez, Associate Professor (far right) introduced Dr. Garcia.  Student panelists included (from right to left): Dennis Aguirre, Doctoral Candidate; Melanie Rodriguez, Doctoral Candidate; Angelina Martinez, Doctoral student; Blanca Garcia, Doctoral student; and David Robles, Doctoral Candidate.

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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.

 

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Makeda Buggs, Black Student Union (on stage speaking)

 

 

 

 

 

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Conference Notes: LASA 2016

At the end of the spring semester, I had the opportunity to attend and present my work at this year’s Conference of the Latin American Studies Association in New York City. The meeting brought thousands of specialists of Latin America to the Big Apple’s Midtown Hilton and Sheraton Times Square hotels. I landed in JFK on Thursday late afternoon and took an Uber into the city. Checking into my hotel in the West Village that evening, I made it to the conference site at the start of the next day. Already the Hilton lobby was packed with attendees for a full schedule of panels and other events over Memorial Day Weekend. In total, more than six thousand people participated in this year’s LASA with over 1,400 panels listed in the program. The conference’s film festival also screened dozens of works.

Bustling Times Square, photo by author.

For historians of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, there were a handful of interesting bilingual panels presenting papers on mobility, immigration policy, cultural and social analysis, drug policy, and historical memory of the region. On Friday morning, Amelia A. Hall of the University of Alberta was scheduled to give her paper, “The Badasses of Bad Movies: Border Hybridity, Women’s Models, and Gendered National Identity in Cine Fronterizo.” Unfortunately, it was difficult make it to everything given that a lot of related panels were occurring at the same time. Down the hall, Marta M. Caminero-Santangelo, of the University of Kansas, had organized a panel on literary depictions of border crossings, which looked at the DREAMers, as well as the Caribbean context of the border (Marisel C Moreno, University of Notre Dame), and Latinx literary aesthetics (Ylce Irizarry).

Of course, being New York City in springtime, there were countless things to do outside the hotel’s walls. Walking through midtown Manhattan, people wearing their attendee badges could be seen enjoying all that the area had to offer. Although the heat was sweltering, I joined friends for walks in Central Park, strolled Fifth Avenue, and later had dinner nearby the conference at the tasty and affordable, Topaz Thai.

The next day, I was excited to attend an early evening panel organized by Stanford University’s Mateo J. Carillo, and chaired by Julia G. Young of the Catholic University of America, on transnational migrant mobilities. Being an historian of transport mobility in northern Mexico, myself, this session was right up my alley (pun intended). The first presenter, Laura D. Gutierrez from the University of California-San Diego, spoke on the history of the Bracero program and punitive deportations. One aspect of the work that really captivated my interest was Gutierrez’s analysis of the power and limits of the U.S. and Mexican bureaucracies that exerted power over transnational workers. Following Gutierrez, Carillo spoke about the history of road building in the Bajío, a northwest-central region of Mexico, and its impact on the mobilization of agricultural workers who traveled for jobs in the United States. Carillo rightly emphasized that new roads played a crucial role in this labor history from the 1940s to the 1960s. Lastly, Yuridia Ramirez of Duke University, presented her work on the links that form between Mexican migrant communities in North Carolina and their families and friends remaining in the Bajío. She analyzed themes of identity production and cultural heritage, and the role that education played. The discussion that followed was lively. Afterwards, I joined colleagues for dinner at the aptly named House of Brews.

My panel, organized by my friend and colleague Catherine Vézina of the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (CIDE), was scheduled for Monday morning in the Times Square Sheraton. It began with José Alberto Moreno Chávez of El Colegio de México (Colmex) who spoke about cosmopolitan culture and modernization in Mexico City through a fascinating analysis of how elites wrote and thought about popular terms, including “Snob” and “Fresa,” which invariably included historical context of U.S. cultural influence. I followed with a presentation on rural road-building campaigns in Mexico, including the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León, where transportation companies pressed the government for more highways in support of domestic and U.S. tourism along the border. Catherine continued, giving a paper on the implications of the bracero program to bilateral policy initiatives and questioning the impact on modernization schemes in Mexico. After her, Valeria Sánchez Michel, also of CIDE, discussed the history of modernization related to Mexican higher education in the 1950s, exploring the cultural representations that planners hoped to impose as well as how this ideal contrasted with students’ everyday life and demand for reforms. Finally, Colmex’s Vanni Pettina concluded the panel with a lively discussion of his work on bilateral relations between the Soviet Union and Mexico during the late 1950s and early 1960s as Mexican President Adolfo Lopéz Mateos navigated the diplomatic currents of the Cold War.

Following the panel, it was time to grab a coffee, check into some other sessions, meet more friends and colleagues, and later explore more of the city. The weekend was packed and like any LASA conference, it’s hard to make it to every panel and event that piques your interest. Nevertheless, it was a great experience that brought together a wide gathering of the academic community on Latin America in a diverse, multicultural and multidisciplinary atmosphere. If you were at LASA this year, share your experiences about the panels (especially borderlands-themed sessions) in the comments below!

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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!”

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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.

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6th Annual UTEP Women’s History Month Conference

The sixth annual University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) Women’s History Month Conference, “Intersectionality on the Border,” highlighted gender and sexuality in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Held on the UTEP campus Wednesday and Thursday, April 6-7, the event included over fifty panels, roundtables, and presentations featuring undergraduate and graduate students, community activists, and scholars of all ranks. Among these, a panel “Gender, Sexuality, and Violence in the Borderlands,” featured borderlands historians Daniel Santana, Carolina Monsivais, and Jennifer Urban-Flores. Other panels discussed Trans issues on the border, the intersection of gender and religion in El Paso, and borderland health disparities. On Wednesday afternoon, the conference offered a ceremony recognizing renowned UTEP border studies scholar Dr. Kathleen Staudt. In her “legacy lecture” Staudt reflected on her more than three decades of scholarship and service in the frontera. On Thursday, a keynote address by University of California, Santa Cruz Latin American and Latino Studies professor Dr. Patricia Zavella described the Nuestro Texas Project, a Latina health initiative aimed at improving reproductive services in Rio Grande Valley.

The UTEP Women’s History Month conference is an annual event co-sponsored by the university’s Women’s and Gender Studies program and the Triota honor society. More information is available by calling (915) 747-6132.

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Notes on the 2016 OAH Annual Meeting at Providence

This past week, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) held its annual conference at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island from April 7-10, 2016. Its theme, “On Leadership,” was seen throughout the conference’s sessions – which ranged from panels on “Worst. President. Ever.,” to “Black Religious Leadership and Mass Media in the 20th Century,” and “Remembering Julian Bond.” Without a doubt, leadership in its many forms was present and embedded within the majority of the sessions over the four days of the conference.

Providence

City Center, Providence

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Race and Sex in Spain’s Colonial Borderlands

Dear readers, for those of you who will be in the area, the University of Texas at El Paso is hosting Dr. Allyson Poska for a public talk. She will be speaking at UTEP’s Blumberg Auditorium on April 21st, at 5PM, on the subject of personal honor in the colonial borderlands. Dr. Poska received her doctorate from the University of Minnesota, and since 1992, has taught in the Department of History and American Studies at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. She is also the director of UMW’s Women’s and Gender Studies program. From her faculty bio:

Primarily a social historian, she regularly teaches upper-level courses on the histories of Spain and Latin America and frequently offers seminars dealing with gender issues. Her most recent book is Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia (2006) which won the Roland H. Bainton Prize given by the Sixteenth Century Studies Association (the early modern history professional society) to the best book in early modern history or theology.

Allyson Poska Flyer-page-001

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