Call for Papers on Smuggling in US-Mexico Borderlands for Conference and Book on Consumer Culture and Society in the US-Mexico Borderlands
Deadline: October 15, 2005
The Clements Center for Southwest Studies solicits proposals for papers that address smuggling in the US-Mexico borderlands for a symposium on consumer culture and society in the US-Mexico borderlands. Participants in the symposium will have all their expenses paid for a trip to Dallas, Texas March 31-April 1, 2006, where the papers will be discussed in a day-long workshop and then publicly presented. The 15,000-word papers will be published as a volume with an university press, which Alexis McCrossen (Associate Professor of History, Southern Methodist University) will edit and introduce. We are especially interested in papers that address the smuggling of narcotics from an ethnographic, historical, and/or economic perspective. No later than October 15, please send a paper proposal of 500-800 words and your curriculum vita to: Andrea Boardman or Alexis McCrossen . You may write either one of us for more information about the symposium.
The symposium highlights how consumption practices – as well as their accompanying politics – permeated the borderlands since the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which increased the size of the United States by one-fourth while diminishing Mexico to half its former size. It is well known that since the 1960s the borderlands became a site of mass production, exemplified by the much-studied maquiladoras, labor-intensive manufacturing plants owned by Americans but operating along the Mexican side of the 2,000 mile border. The U.S.-Mexico border has long stood for a divide between fields and factories, between the backward and the up-to-date, and above all, between scarcity and abundance. That it is also the site of some of the most marginal practices associated with consumption – such as the exchange in vital organs, sexual services, and bloody spectator sports – only highlights the excesses of capitalism. While the papers in the symposium attend to these excesses, their focus is on the mainstream trade in labor, land, leisure, and commodities. In doing so they recast the history of this region, as well as of consumer culture.
The goal of the symposium is to illuminate the centrality of the United States-Mexico borderlands to the history of North American and Latin American consumer capitalism and culture. While hunger for resources such as land, leisure and commodities has attracted Americans to the borderlands, scarcity of opportunities to work and to consume have pushed Mexicans towards and across the border. The symposium’s papers illustrate the push and pull between the forces of production and consumption, scarcity and abundance, tradition and modernity, waste and want, capitalism and culture, the United States and Mexico. As of yet, these overlapping regions have no place in the growing field devoted to the study of consumer culture and capitalism. For instance, this year has seen the publication of two landmark books concerning the place of consumerism in the United States – colonialist T. H. Breen’s The Marketplace of Culture and Lizabeth Cohen’s A Consumers’ Republic. Breen’s eighteenth-century “empire of goods” excludes the Spanish borderlands, while Cohen paints the West in broad strokes in her study of post-World War II political economy. By the same token, much of the work on the borderlands does not engage with the increasingly important scholarship on consumer capitalism and culture.
Josef Barton, Associate Professor of History, Northwestern University
Peter S. Cahn, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma
Lawrence Culver, Assistant Professor of History, Utah State University
Amy S. Greenberg, Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies, Pennsylvania State University Sarah Hill, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Environmental Studies, Western Michigan University Alexis McCrossen, Associate Professor of History, Southern Methodist University
Rachel St. John, Assistant Professor of History, Harvard University
Laura Isabel Serna, Doctoral Candidate History of American Civilization, Harvard University
Evan R. Ward, Assistant Professor of History, University of North Alabama
Melissa W. Wright, Associate Professor of Geography, Penn State University
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)