Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION
Latin American Studies Association, Annual Congress "Mexico’s Southern Border and Beyond: Assembling New Understandings", Guadalajara, Mexico, May 13-16, 2020
Margath Walker, University of Louisville
Jared P. Van Ramshorst, Syracuse University
Within the Anglo-speaking world, Mexico’s southern border has remained relatively understudied. Historically, the region has been more diffuse and less populous than its northern counterpart, but in recent years, has become increasingly visible as a site of social and geopolitical struggle. When it has featured as an object of research, studies have focused on a wide range of topics, from fluid constructions of identity and subjectivity in the borderlands to the contentious politics of migration and mobility.
Two developments, in particular, have precipitated a renewed and urgent focus on the Mexico-Guatemala border. The so-called “migrant caravans” headed from Central America to the U.S. have received an unprecedented amount of attention. While these processions through Mexico are nothing new, sudden media and political interest and newer forms of organizing have made them larger and more visible. These caravans have increased in size over the years, not only because traveling in groups provides safety to migrants, but also because the U.S-Mexico border, and more recently, the Mexico-Guatemala border have become increasingly militarized. Programa Frontera Sur, announced in 2014 by then-President Peña Nieto, is a sweeping security and enforcement program supported by the U.S. that is dramatically transforming this interconnected region in profound ways. This attention is important but should not come at the expense of the other stories emerging from this historically interconnected place, where lines are arbitrarily drawn between Mexico and Central America. As such, the aim of this session is to bring together scholars working broadly on Mexico’s southern border. We invite contributions relating to any aspect of the region and/or its relation to other borders and spaces, hoping to spark a dialogue among researchers that have heretofore worked in isolation from one another.