Bobby Cervantes, University of Kansas, and Doris Morgan Rueda, University of Nevada-Las Vegas | Newberry

Bobby Cervantes, University of Kansas, and Doris Morgan Rueda, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

Friday, January 28, 2022

3-5 pm CST

In person at the Newberry Library

Borderlands and Latino/a Studies Seminar

Land and Life: Building Infrastructure for Social Needs in Deep South Texas, Bobby Cervantes, University of Kansas

Scholarly and popular accounts of the U.S.-Mexico border often depict nearby communities as caught between clashing nations. Yet, such framing obscures both countries’ far-reaching policy collaborations that have structured vast inequality as a condition of local life. This paper historicizes the thousands of chronically under-resourced Texas border communities (las colonias) where today a half-million people live in one of the greatest concentrations of American poverty. Through property records, oral histories, and government archives, it explores how Texas landowners devised extra-legal schemes targeting Mexican migrant workers in the twentieth century. It further contends that U.S., Mexican, and local policies shaped a land-use regime of simultaneous urban development and rural underdevelopment — launching myriad grassroots battles that transformed the once-small migrant settlements into ready-made housing markets. Ultimately, the project explains how workers, landowners, and state actors made the Texas colonias a transnational institution of poverty and profit in the modern U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

Construyelo! And We will Bring Them!: Building the Juvenile Court in the Borderlands, 1900-1920, Doris S Morgan Rueda, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

This paper examines the rise and adoption of juvenile justice legislation across the U.S-Mexico border states. The origins of juvenile court legislation emerged from a combination of women’s club activists, progressive legislators, and community outcry for compassionate care for juveniles that aimed to reform wayward youth into productive members of society. The implementation of these courts in the borderlands, especially in rural areas, brought up questions of governance, legal authority, and notions of childhood. As the chapter reveals, the everyday practice of juvenile justice meant finding practical, and sometimes creative, solutions to problems of housing, educating, and supervising juveniles.

Respondent: Ivón Padilla-Rodríguez, UIC

Cost and Registration Information 

This event is free, but all participants must register in advance and space is limited. To register and request a copy of the pre-circulated paper, click here. Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.