Clements Center Monthly Talks

Sanctioned, Unsanctioned, and Unseen: Fencing Women at the U.S.-Mexico Divide

Mary E. Mendoza
The David J. Weber Fellow for the Study of Southwestern History

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 |  Heroy Hall #153, 3225 Daniel Avenue, SMU   |  12 noon to 1 pm   |  No registration necessary. 

From 1942 to 1964, the U.S. and Mexico partnered to bring men from Mexico to work in the fields of the United States. Because not all men qualified for the program, many opted to travel north on their own, hoping to find work. This unsanctioned migration transformed border enforcement on both sides of the border and, for the first time, the U.S. built fences on the international boundary to control the movement of people. But because the program was only open to men, scholars typically focus on the role of male migration in the making of the border control apparatus. This talk will highlight the centrality of women to the early escalation of border enforcement and note the highly gendered nature of fence construction on the U.S.-Mexico divide. 

Mary E. Mendoza is this year’s David J. Weber Fellow.  She is an Assistant Professor of History and Latinx Studies at Penn State University, and a Nancy Weiss Malkiel Scholar for the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She received her B.A. from Middlebury College, an M.A. in U.S. History from American University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in 2012 and 2015.  Her work focuses on the intersections between environmental and borderlands history and she teaches courses on modern U.S. history, race in the American West, environmental history, Chicano history, and borderlands history.   Mary’s current book project which she will further during her fellowship year, Unnatural Border: Race and Environment at the U.S.-Mexico Divide, explores the intersections between the natural and built environments along the U.S.-Mexico border. 

 Maps and directions to SMU.