Teaching/Professional Development

BHIP #8: We speak to Dr. Grace Peña Delgado!

Grace Delgado (3)

Dr. Grace Peña Delgado. Photo credit: Dr. Ernesto Chávez.

 

It was a lovely morning drive to Santa Cruz, California to meet with and interview Dr. Grace Peña Delgado. Dr. Delgado is currently Associate Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is the author of Making the Chinese Mexican: Global Migration, Exclusion, and Localism in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands (Stanford University Press: 2012) which was distinguished as a CHOICE Academic title. Additionally, she co-authored Latino Immigrants in the United States (Polity, 2012) with Ronald Mize.

Delgado has penned several noteworthy articles including her latest piece, “Border Control and Sexual Policing: White Slavery and Prostitution along the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1903-1910,” in the Western Historical Quarterly which garnered several awards including the Judith Lee Ridge Award for best article in history published by a member of the Western Association of Women Historians and the Bolton-Cutter Award for best article on Spanish Borderlands history. We had a wonderful conversation about her past projects and her current and future research. Delgado discussed the significance of migration, immigration, race, gender, and sexuality in the borderlands, and about the ways in which the state as a focus of study is becoming more important as we understand the history of the making of the Mexico-U.S. and the Canada-U.S. boundary.

Delgado explained how she discovered the topic for her first book Making the Chinese Mexican. Listening to her grandparents recall the expulsion of the Chinese community out of Sonora, Mexico, Delgado realized she had no historical knowledge of this event. She saw promise in this little known topic and this transnational story became the focus of her dissertation and then her book. In the end Delgado believes her manuscript is a critique of nationalism on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. While there is a strong historical understanding of the dangers of American nativism at the turn of the twentieth century, her book shows the ways in which Mexican nationalism/nativism pushed back and forged a distinct border culture along the border of Arizona and Sonora, specifically as it related to the racialization of Chinese and Mexican communities in the region.

Her current project emerged alongside her research for her first book; as she dug through archival material that discussed the exclusion of Chinese from the United States and Mexico, she discovered documents that related to white slavery and the policing of women’s bodies along the border. While her first book revealed the layers of racial justifications for national exclusion, her current research unpacks the gendered and sexualized modes of exclusion, particularly for women. Delgado believes that a deeper and more nuanced analysis of state bureaucracy will reveal the ways in which sexuality lay at the foundation of state control along the border. She contends that the state and state formation mechanisms have been absent from the ways in which we analyze identity formation and the creation of communities along the border.

We also talked about the influence of Chicano/a and Latino/a historiography and methods in her research. Delgado made clear that her next book will reclaim borderlands history as Chicano/a history and vice versa. As borderlands scholars begin to address different questions, Delgado suggests this work has not been attributed to Chicano and Chicana historiography. She explains that as scholars we have “lost track of the contributions of Chicano historiography of 40 years past and we’ve also lost track of the way in which they’ve talked about the state and state formation on the border…” Dr. Delgado explains that her next book, focusing on prostitution, white slavery, and state formation will bring Chicano/a scholarship back in conversation with borderlands historiography and firmly place Chicano/a history back in the borderlands.

I asked Delgado about how she approaches teaching U.S. history, given her research and analysis of borderlands history. “I teach histories of American empire-building through critiques of citizenship and nationalism that also include the Mexican side of the equation,” Delgado explained. She places Chicano/a history, specifically, within a hemispheric framework and teaching through a postcolonial lens. Delgado believes that these ideas as well as her tenure in Pennsylvania inspired her to write her book Latino Immigrants in the United States in order to show linkages between Chicano/a and Latino/a scholarship and experiences in the United States. Delgado states that bridging this scholarship and translating this historical knowledge for students can help them to understand the roots of collective activism against American nativism in this country.

There is so much more we discussed, specifically in regards to state building and the management and control of bodies along the border. I recommend listening to the entirety of the interview in order to truly appreciate the scope of Delgado’s work and knowledge. I could have asked Dr. Delgado a million more questions about nativism, bureaucracies, immigration and the power of the state in the borderlands. It was a pleasure to interview her and yet again confirm the importance of borderlands history in our research and teaching.

I would like to thank Dr. Delgado for inviting me to the University of California, Santa Cruz and all the Borderlands History blog audience for tuning in to this exciting interview.

Special thanks to Marko Morales for his audio editing skills and to Mike Bess for his tech support.

Categories: Interviews, Methodology, Teaching/Professional Development | 1 Comment

Rethinking Interconnectivity along the U.S.-Mexico Border

The U.S.-Mexico border is the most frequently traversed political boundary in the world. In his new book, Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization, Parag Khanna, a research fellow at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, sees cities, communication networks, and transportation infrastructure as the key points of reference to understand how global society organizes itself, today. Although his argument diminishing the importance of national boundaries is less convincing (given the legal and policing issues millions of people face), the visual (re)presentation of global population centers, and of how goods and people move across geographic space, is compelling. Recently, the Washington Post interviewed Khanna about his work. Here’s what he had to say about his map depicting the U.S.-Mexico border and the North American economy:

One of the titles I’ve given the map is ‘Think geology, not nationality.’ America is now suddenly the largest oil producer in the world. The American energy revolution is the most significant geopolitical event since the end of the Cold War, and it’s a major shift in the world’s tug of war. Ten years ago, we were all talking about how the United States and China were going to fight resource wars for Middle Eastern oil and minerals in Africa. Now, thanks to this incredible seismic revolution, we’re selling oil to China instead.

The reason this relates to North America is because, if you think about strategy in the geological terms, you realize that if the U.S., Canada and Mexico unite their energy, water, agriculture and labor resources, you create a continental empire that is more powerful than America is. I’ve not even mentioned the Arctic, which of course Canada controls half of, which is becoming a very strategic geography as the Arctic ice melts. Canada is going to potentially be the world’s largest food producer in 20-25 years as a result of climate change. And then there’s water. The southwestern United States is now in a perennial drought, and yet at the same time, perversely, is the site of the fastest growing population in the United States. So hydrological engineering may need to take place between Canada and the United States.

For more of the interview, as well as his map depicting the infrastructural linkages across the U.S.-Mexico border, follow the link.

Categories: Interviews, News and Announcements, Teaching/Professional Development | Leave a comment

Bloodlines and Borderlines in Louisiana: Grappling with Cajun Identity in Borderlands History

This entry is the first in a series that Jessica will be writing for the blog about her personal and professional journey developing and researching her dissertation topic as a doctoral candidate in Borderlands history. She welcomes all constructive feedback in the comments section and hopes to spark a broader conversation about identity and regional borders over the coming months. -ed

About midway through my dissertation proposal defense, Dr. Jeff Shepherd, my dissertation chair at the University of Texas at El Paso, asked: “how does your project fit into Borderlands history.”  I was not surprised by the question, but I remained stumped for some reason and gave a canned response. His question lingered after I became ABD. How does your project fit into Borderlands history, or a problem like it, is a question on every graduate student’s mind who studies in this field.

As to why I am struggling with this question may have to do with my topic, Cajun history, in particular, Cajun identity.  Cajun history begins with the early French Acadian settlements on the tidal flats of present-day Nova Scotia.  Imperial competition grew and in 1755, the British expelled the French Acadia settlers and scattered them throughout British North America, Caribbean, South American coast, the Falkland Islands, or France.  After that, many Acadian exiles residing in France traveled to Louisiana and were welcomed under the Spanish crown hoping to increase the territory’s population. Continue reading

Categories: Essay Series, Teaching/Professional Development | 1 Comment

CFP: SMU Dissertation Writing Workshop

Dear readers, we wanted you to know about a great upcoming opportunity for graduate students. The Clements Center at Southern Methodist University has launched a call for papers for its 11th annual Western History Dissertation Workshop. It will be held on Saturday, May 28, 2016, at the university’s satellite campus in Taos, New Mexico in conjunction with a number of partners, including the Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders at Yale University and the Center for the Southwest at the University of New Mexico, among others.

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Graduate students who are at an advanced stage in writing their dissertations are encouraged to apply. Topics can include any aspect of the history or culture of the American West. The workshop organizers will fly five students to Taos, expenses paid, to participate and receive feedback from the group as well as senior scholars. Continue reading

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Reflections: RMCLAS 2015

The annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies (RMCLAS) brought scholars to Tucson, Arizona for four days of insightful conversation, networking, and professional development. This year’s conference, held April 8-11 at the Marriot on the campus of the University of Arizona, was especially beneficial for students of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

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B/orders: Interview with Ms. Petra Weber

This interview was conducted on November 3, 2014 in the International Office of the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany, on the border with Slubice, Poland. In this interview, Ms. Weber discusses the role of the International Office in Viadrina’s internationalization. She also provides insight into the recent history of the community, the ERASMUS program, practical aspects of European de-bordering and university administration, and the evolving mission of the Viadrina. This interview has been edited for readability.

J. Aaron Waggoner: Ms. Petra Weber, could you please start by telling me a little bit about your department?

Petra Weber: I think the setup of the International Office of the Viadrina is a bit unusual, because it has areas which are not commonly placed within international offices in Germany. Our standard, our call word, is really the exchange programs. We also have responsibilities like international offices in the states do, for example, for recruitment of international students, but also advising and taking care of incoming degree-seeking students. We are also working in the area of recognition of credentials for two faculties of the Viadrina, Business Administration and Cultural Sciences. Then we have a number of projects, which could be partly research, but sometimes are also structural projects. For example, we are dealing with projects towards double degree programs with the faculties where sometimes we can negotiate the whole project on our own. Basically, for the Business faculty we have that responsibility, which is quite unusual, but we do the same thing for all faculties in terms of the advising for the logistics and sometimes also about the setup of the programs… We have at the moment, I think, nineteen double degrees in place, which is a very high number, also in comparison to some other larger universities in Germany. We have a benchmarking with some of the really big institutions, for example Dresden and Vienna. And Vienna has not nearly the number of double degrees we have.

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B/orders: Interview with Dr. Andrea Meissner

The following interview was conducted on Thursday, October 23 in the offices of B/orders in Motion at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt(Oder). Here, I talk with Dr. Andrea Meissner about the center, its mission and activities, and a fellowship opportunity for graduating MA students or early PhD students. Blogs in progress include a description of Viadrina’s international demographic and an exploration of the echoes and memory of the German Democratic Republic, whose main local offices are now occupied by the university. You can listen to the interview here.

Aaron Waggoner: Hello, my name in Aaron Waggoner, and today I’m with Dr. Andrea Meissner in the offices of the Viadrina Centre B/orders in Motion at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) on the border with Słubice, Poland. Dr. Meissner, so please tell me a little about yourself and your current position.

Andrea Meissner: I am the Scientific Coordinator of the Viadrina Center B/orders in Motion which is basically its manager. And from my scientific background I’m a historian, and I’ve been dealing with, in my dissertation, with nation building in Germany and Austria, so there are a lot of cross border processes. That’s something that connects me to the issues we are dealing with here.

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B/Orders in Motion

Welcome / Bienvenidos / Willkommen / Witajcie

Hello border crossers, benders, and breakers!  I’m excited to be sharing my experience with you as the Visiting Scientist for B/Orders in Motion.  Over the next three months, I’ll be publishing comments, photos, and interviews from Frankfurt(Oder)/Slubice dealing with the European University Viadrina’s approach to border studies, the lived experience on the German/Polish border, and my work as a researcher and educator.

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Categories: News and Announcements, Teaching/Professional Development | 1 Comment

Call for Borderlands History Syllabi

Hello Borderlands History Blog followers. As the the 2014/2015 academic year begins to pass us by, we at  the Borderlands History Blog have decided to create an interdisciplinary syllabus repository for courses on the U.S./Mexico, North American, and Global borderlands. Our ultimate goal is to establish a space where academics and teachers of all levels can access the latest information on the reading and visual materials, sources, methods, and assessments their colleagues use to aid students’ understanding of these diverse regions. Along with submissions from the field of History, we also encourage those from areas such as Anthropology, Comparative Borderlands Studies, English, Ethnic Studies,Indigenous Studies, Latino/a Studies, Sociology, and Women’s and Gender Studies. Syllabi from fields not mentioned above are also encouraged! Please send your submissions as PDF attachments to Dr. Kendra Moore at Kendra.Moore@nau.edu and have an excellent school year.

Categories: Teaching/Professional Development, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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