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Seminar: On The Other Side of the Wall Resilience and Representation at the U.S.-Mexican Border

When:Fr 23-02-2018
Where:Room 1313.03909, Harmonie Building

International Seminar organized by Mexican Studies Centre and the Research Center for the Americas, University of Groningen.

Recently American journalist Amy Goodman rightfully pointed to the absence of migrant voices in the polarized debates in Washington and the US media about Trump´s ideas about immigration and his plan to build wall along the US-Mexican border. Those who have taken sanctuary in churches for fear of deportation in the US are hardly ever seen or heard. Perhaps this is even more so for the people and communities living on the Mexican side of the border, but whose lives are profoundly shaped by US narratives, policies and practices.

The southern part of the U.S.-Mexican border region has gone through a difficult period when it comes to violence and insecurity. During the last year, violence and insecurity have been on the rise again in several cities along the border. But cities and communities along the border also have a long history of social and cultural resources to confront manifold challenges. They are known for their remarkable resilience. This conference examines how different social groups in the region engage social transformation affecting the region, and the social, political and cultural resources they draw upon. Since this is an intensely transnationalised space, the conference examines the social, economic, cultural and political networks that circulate throughout the border region as a quintessential transnational space.

In addition, the conference zooms in on what happens on the ground. The U.S.-Mexican border region is deeply shaped by the fall-out of economic crises, international drug trafficking, migration flows and U.S.-led securitization. But in themselves they tell us little about how they affect the lives and experiences of different communities in the border region. This requires bottom-up views. The conference therefore seeks to take a closer look at people, projects and movements along the border that speak to the energy, compassion, creativity, and resistance border communities generate on a daily basis.

We will examine the main topics with a multidisciplinary approach that includes the humanities and social sciences, bringing together scholarly work about social organization, politics, music, narco-novelas and other forms of representation.

More information

For more information contact prof.dr. Wil G. Pansters at