Clements Center Annual Symposia

Food Across Borders: Production, Consumption, and Boundary Crossing in North America

A Joint Symposium Sponsored by The William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies and the Comparative Border Studies Program at Arizona State University

Participants will meet privately in the fall at Southern Methodist University's SMU-in-Taos campus to draft their essays and then will meet again in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 20-21, 2015 for a public symposium.

Co-organized by Matt Garcia (Arizona State University), Don Mitchell (Syracuse University), and E. Melanie DuPuis (University of California-Santa Cruz), the symposium is co-sponsored with the Comparative Borders Studies Program at Arizona State University.

Recent criticism of our global food system has obscured a longer, and still healthy, tradition of food cultivation and circulation among nations.  Our own national diets are a product of long-existing agricultural empires across the North American continent. Mexico, United States, and Canada collaborate in the feeding of our collective societies, especially since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In terms of U.S. agriculture, without Mexican workers, our national food production system would not function.  These conditions reveal a transnational project, north and south, which have been neglected by scholars in many disciplines. 

Our symposia and the resulting edited volume consider how food practices have created coercions and collaborations across North America.  It will show how boundaries represent true divides in terms of rights and power, and also create false categories of “inside” and “outside” that often do not fit the realities of our current food system.   Our multidisciplinary lineup of participants include Meredith Abarca, Kellen Backer, William Carleton, Teresa Mares, Katherine Massoth, Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern, Maria Montoya, Mary Murphy, Kathleen Sexsmith, José Antonio Vásquez-Medina, Marygold Walsh-Dilley, and Michael Wise.  The project creators, Matt Garcia, Don Mitchell, and E. Melanie DuPuis, will edit the volume and contribute a collaborative essay to be published by a major academic press.