“Gender and Intimacy Across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands:” A Workshop at UC Santa Barbara

In recent years, scholars from across a variety of disciplinary fields have initiated studies exploring gender and intimacy across the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Some of the most exciting and innovating work has begun to examine how notions of gender as well as masculinity and femininity shape emotional and personal relations with partners, spouses, children, and extended family members and how those relationships, in turn, impact their experiences with migration, community formation, and their interactions with the state, among other topics.

Building on this rich emerging literature, we solicit proposals for papers that explore deeply and widely themes of gender and intimacy as well as sexuality and identity in/on and across the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. We define gender and intimacy broadly. While we consider gender as the social and cultural roles assigned to biological males and females that construct them as a multiplicity of feminine and masculine subjects, we treat intimacy as an emotional and personal expression of love and desire as well as affection between two or more people that is performed or enacted across a variety of spaces, places, and relationships, including marriage, courtship, and the family as well as in homosocial relations and contexts. We also treat the U.S.-Mexico borderlands loosely, regarding it as a region of diverse social, political, economic, and cultural interactions, inconsistencies, contradictions, conflicts, and violence, that is bisected by an international boundary separating and joining peoples of different genders, races, ethnicities, classes, and sexual orientations.

Topics of Interest Include

Courtship, marriage, and migration in the borderlands
Gender, race, and ethnicity in the borderlands
Family and community formation in the borderlands
Sexuality and intimacy in the borderlands
Sexual violence in the borderlands
State power and practices regulating gender and intimacy in the borderlands
Masculinity and manhood in the borderlands
Queer bodies in the borderlands
Queer and transgender activists and activism in the borderlands
Goals of the Workshop

Our goals are to bring together scholars of all ranks (including graduate students) who are willing to share their work, provide constructive feedback to fellow presenters, and publish their papers. After the workshop, we plan to invite all participants to submit revised papers for consideration in a Special Issue of the Pacific Historical Review, pending peer and editorial review. Note: The editor of the journal will attend the workshop to see the work in progress.

Submission Guidelines & Deadline

Please submit a proposal (no more than two pages, single spaced) and brief CV (no more than two-to-three pages) as one document in PDF format. The proposal must include a discussion of the paper’s findings, contributions to the literature, and sources. Full papers (double spaced, 20-30 pages, max., including notes) must be submitted four (4) weeks prior to the workshop allowing participants and “guest” discussants time to read, review, and prepare comments. Full papers will not be read at the workshop. Rather, participants will provide 10 min. overviews, providing time for in-depth discussion of the larger essay. All participants will partake in providing feedback for each other’s presentations and/or papers (note: participants will be grouped into two-to-three panels and each of those panels will be responsible for only reading full versions of each other’s papers). Proposal submissions are due March 15, 2016. Full paper submissions are due September 1, 2016.

Logistics of the Workshop & Keynote Speaker

All selected workshop participants will receive complimentary accommodations for one night near the UCSB campus. Transportation between the accommodations and the UCSB campus will also be provided. Dinner the evening before the event as well as a continental breakfast and lunch the day of the event are also included. Transportation costs to UCSB from home institutions are not included.

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Alexandra Minna Stern, Professor of American Culture, Women’s Studies, History, and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan, will provide the keynote talk on “Gender and Intimacy Across the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands.” Author of Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in America, 2d. ed. (UC Press, 2015) and Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America (John Hopkins University Press, 2012) as well as numerous articles on the history of public health in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, Professor Stern is a leading voice in unraveling the dynamics of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, social difference, and reproductive politics in the United States and Latin America.

To submit your proposal or for more details or questions, contact co-conveners Miroslava Chávez-García (Chicana and Chicano Studies, UCSB) and Verónica Castillo-Muñoz (History, UCSB) at





Personal Statement:

I study transnational migration to Mexico and Mexican migration to the United States. My first book, The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands (UC Press, 2016), examines how communities of laborers changed the racially and ethnically diverse social landscape of the Mexico-U.S. borderlands.  Focusing on Baja California, my study is the first to examine the interplay of land reform and migratory labor and how global migrants and Mexican workers transformed the Mexico-U.S. borderlands between the years of 1850 and 1954. Previous research on migration and border crossings portrays the Mexican borderlands as a temporary place for transitory labor, a launching pad to enter the United States. I argue that the present-day Mexican borderlands emerged from efforts to keep Mexican labor moving across the U.S. border while fixing national communities in place. This intricate interplay shows how governments, foreign investors, and local communities, engaged in the making of the Baja California borderlands, leading to the booming cities of Tijuana, Mexicali, and Santa Rosalia.

My second book project, Women and Revolution: A Tale of Violence and Deception on the Mexico-U.S. Borderlands, uses photographic representations and testimonies of border women to examine their participation and experiences in the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). During the Revolution, women were often targets of violence by the military and revolutionary caudillos. Several newspapers reported how women were often victims of rape, kidnappings, and even sold into prostitution.  Women and Revolution investigates how Mexican women negotiated injustice, violence, migration, and family across the Mexican-US borderlands.

I also serve as Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Mexican Studies/ Studios Mexicanos

URL to the Journal


Advisor to:

Current Projects:


The Other California: Land, Identity, and Politics on the Mexican Borderlands (UC Press, 2016)

URL to UC Press:

Honorable mention of the 2017 Gita Chaudhuri Prize from the Western Association of Women’s Historians.

Women and Revolution: A Tale of Violence and Deception Across the Mexico-U.S. Borderlands (book in progress).


“Historical Roots of Rural Migration: Agrarian Reform and the Displacements of Rural Farmers in Nayarit, Mexico, 1900-1952.” The Journal of Mexican Studies/ Estudios Mexicanos (University of California Press), 2013.

“Beyond Red-Light Districts” Agrarian Struggles and Transnational Labor in the Mexico-U.S. Borderlands.” in Lee and North ed., European and American Borderlands: A New Comparative Approach (Nebraska Press, 2016)

“Intermarriage and the Making of a Multi Cultural Society in Baja California, in Rodilla, Guevarra, and Spikard., ” Red and Yellow, Black and Brown: Decentering Whiteness in Mixed Race Studies. (In Press, Rutgers University Press, 2017).

“The Long History of the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands,” (Article in progress)

“Negotiating the Revolution: U.S. Investors, Mexican Caudillos, and Gender in Revolutionary Nayarit.” (Article in progress)





Courses Taught:

History 168 CR
Studies in selected aspects of the United States-Mexico borderlands with an emphasis on social and economic history.

History 168 A
History of the Chicanos (cross listed). The history of the Chicanos, 1821 to the present; traces the social-cultural lifeline of the Mexicans who have lived north of Mexico.

History 168 B
The history of the Chicanos, 1821 to the present; traces the social-cultural lifeline of the Mexicans who have lived north of Mexico.
History 201
A reading course in a field of the professor’s specialty. Introduces the student to the sources and literature of the field in question. Written work as prescribed by the instructor. (Usually offered quarterly.)
New Courses Listed for 2018-19
History 56
Introduction to Mexican History
History 136M

History of U.S.-Mexican Relations from 1821- to the present.

Courses Taught Previously:

Gender in Latin American History

Problems in Latin America Historiography

History of Modern Mexico
History of Modern Latin America
World History

Honors and Professional Activities:

    • Huntington Library Research Fellowship 2017
    • UCSB Academic Senate Travel Grant, 2016-17
    • UCSB Faculty Career Development Award, 2016
    • Ford Fellowship (alternate) 2015-16
    • Hellman Fellow 2014-15
    • UC President’s Research Fellowship in the Humanities
    • UC Regent’s Faculty Fellowship
    • UC Mexus Research Fellowship University of California
    • UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship
      .  Department of History, University of California, San Diego
    • The Peggy Marudin Research Fellowship
    • UC Graduate Fellowship