The Mexican borderlands, both north and south, have long been rhizomatic tangles of social, economic and political discourses. Within our lifetimes, both regions drastically changed economically, politically and environmentally with the arrival of NAFTA sanctioned maquilas to the north and the political activism of the EZLN in the south. Ironically, these geographic margins of the state serve as the epicenters for questions about the environment, gendered violence, narcotrafficking, immigration, militarization, nationalism and sovereignty. Border studies challenge how we define and think the nation-state, and its relationship to economies at the local and global level. Furthermore, as many of our predecessors (most famously Anzald˙a) have shown, the logic of borders is often imposed on individuals and small communities. The study of these divisions in conjunction with other borders can be used to subvert macro-reductionist scholarship and diagnose underlying logics of power and social division.
This seminar looks to these regions and asks how cultural production has mapped the Mexican borderlands, connecting, narrativizing (and perhaps refuting) the series of collapses, catastrophes and changes that have often been used to characterize them. Papers should explore how representations of the border depict the intersections of politics, economics and culture. Does cultural production create histories or reinforce History? Challenge the nation-state and/ or economic formations? Vindicate or repudiate past theories of hybridity? How does cultural production both reflect and inflect these spaces? Do these representations serve as cognitive maps (per Jameson), obfuscate reality or do both/ neither?
We invite submissions entertaining these questions and related ones through meditations on cultural production from any period about the Mexican borderlands.
Laura M. Herbert
Romance Languages and Literatures
The University of Michigan
To submit a paper, go to the ACLA 2012 meeting website:http://acla.org/acla2012/?page_id=45.
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