Borderlands and Latino Studies Seminar: Aaron Margolis, University of Texas, and Natalia Molina, University of California

Friday, October 28, 2011

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Room 101

Center for American History and Culture Programs
Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar

“Mexico’s Southern and Northern Borders, a Comparative Approach”
Aaron Margolis, University Of Texas At El Paso
In this past decades a surge of scholarship regarding the U.S.-Mexico borderlands has challenged the perceptions of such themes as state power and identity formation, while highlighting the power of transnational scholarship. It is in this spirit of examination that I will examine the recent history of Mexico’s southern border from the 1882 treaty affirming the borders between Mexico and Guatemala, to the 1994 New Years Day Zapatista uprising.  A comparative examination will demonstrate the connections between the two borders as well as illuminating the need for possible new conceptual ideas of Mexico’s boundaries. 

“Immigration as a Process of Racial Formation”
Natalia Molina, University Of California, San Diego
This paper looks at the 1954 deportation campaigns that were a part of Operation Wetback. Studies of this campaign have traditionally centered on Mexican agricultural workers in rural spaces. This paper focuses on the deportation campaigns in an urban area, Los Angeles, that rounded up Mexicans and Mexican Americans alike and held them in public spaces in the city center, sparking fervent protests. The Los Angeles Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born denounced the deportations, linking Operation Wetback to a denial of civil rights, Japanese internment, segregation politics, and the hollow promises of citizenship.

Commentator: Jason Ruiz, University of Notre Dame

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.