Event—Scholarly Seminars

C. J. Alvarez, University of Texas at Austin and Annette Rodriguez, University of North Carolina

C. J. Alvarez: The Desert Section of the Rio Grande River Border /

Annette Rodriguez: U.S. Bounty Lands: Seizing an Hispanic Homeland

C. J. Alvarez

The Desert Section of the Rio Grande River Border

The Rio Grande transforms from an inland American stream to an international divide as it passes through the Chihuahuan Desert. Between the 1910s and 1968, this section was diverted, canalized, channelized, straightened, relocated, and lined in concrete. The nature and intensity of its engineering during these years can only be understood, as I argue in this article, by thinking about the waterway not only as a border, but also as a desert river. By analyzing the desert itself, the built environment, and the international divide, this article offers new ways of understanding border and desert history together.

Annette Rodriguez

U.S. Bounty Lands: Seizing an Hispanic Homeland

The granting of land as “Bounty Land” by the U.S. federal government redrew the map of what would become the United States. Bounty Lands were granted as incentive to serve in the military and as a reward for service, and over six million acres of bounty land were issued in at least twenty U.S. states. I focus on how Hispanos/Latinos accessed these land grants as U.S. empire spread both south and west. I aim to explore interactions between Hispano and indigenous communities in particular, and how this type of warrior-settler accomplished homemaking on lands received due to violent conflict.

Respondent: Ben Johnson, Loyola University Chicago