Colloquia focus on Arizona-Sonora border

So, what do you know about the Arizona-Sonora border?

You’ve shopped just beyond the border fence in Nogales, Mexico? Check. You’ve driven to Douglas, Arizona? Check. You’ve read numerous newspaper stories about immigrants crossing the hot desert with little water? Check.

Turns out that most Arizonans truthfully don’t know much, if anything, about the Arizona-Sonora border.

To that end, Comparative Border Studies (CBS) is sponsoring a four-part colloquia series beginning Feb. 10 titled, “The Border We Think We Know: Arizona-Sonora.”

“Arizona’s geographical location and current polarized sentiment regarding immigration issues has led to a renaissance of academic scholars focusing on the Arizona-Sonora borderland region,” said Matthew J. Garcia, professor of transborder andhistory at ASU and director of Comparative Border Studies.

“For better or worse, the current political situation of Arizona has brought needed attention to the state. Our spring 2012 colloquia series hopes to capture some of the current research that focuses on the Arizona-Sonora border.”

All colloquia will take place from noon to 2 p.m. in the seminar room at the School of Transborder Studies, Interdisciplinary Building B, Room 161. All are free and open to the public with registration required at

The first speaker, on Feb. 10, will be Nicole Guidotti-Hernández, a faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin. Guidotti-Hernández is the author of "Unspeakable Violence: Remapping U.S. and Mexican National Imaginaries," which addresses the epistemic and physical violence inflicted on racialized and gendered subjects in the U.S. Mexico borderlands from the mid-19th century through the early 20th. Her presentation on Feb. 10 will focus on a “work in progress” that deals with illness, suicide, affect and racialized, gendered sexual shame in the nineteenth century greater Mexico borderlands.

Guidotti-Hernández is working on two new books, “¡Santa Lucia! Contemporary Chicana and Latina Cultural Reinterpretations of Saint Iconographies” and “Red Devils and Railroads: Race, Gender and Capitalism in the Transnational Nineteenth Century Mexico Borderlands.” Her research interests include transnational feminisms, critical race studies and borderlands history.

The second speaker, on Feb. 24, will be Rachel St. John, associate professor of history at Harvard University. Her first book, “Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border,” was published by Princeton University Press early last year.

St. John is currently working on a new book, “The Imagined States of America: Nation-building in Nineteenth-century North America,” which will explore the diverse range of nation-building projects that emerged throughout North America in the 19th century. St. John teaches courses in 19th century U.S. history, transnational borderlands history, environmental history and the history of the U.S. West.

On March 9, the speaker will be Hilda García-Pérez, an assistant professor in the School of Transborder Studies at ASU. She is currently collaborating with researchers on both sides of the border to define a core agenda to address ethical concerns regarding transborder research involving vulnerable populations. Her research focuses on social determinants of health in urban areas of Northern Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and particularly the role of institutional and cultural barriers in women’s morbidity and health-seeking behavior.

The final speaker, on April 6, will be Karl Jacoby, Brown University. His first book examined the ways in which the United States sought, through the conservation movement, to exert new forms of control over nature. His second project titled “Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History,” focused on the ways in which the tremendous violence toward American Indians that accompanied the ‘frontier” has been remembered and forgotten in the intervening years.

Jacoby is currently working on a project about slavery and its aftermath along the U.S.-Mexico border.

For more information about the series, and Comparative Border Studies, go to or e-mail