CFP: Stony Brook-Columbia University Graduate Student Conference (April 2016)

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Borders, Borderlands, and Border Thinking in Latin America

A Stony Brook University Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center graduate student conference, co-hosted with Columbia University

April 22, 2017, Frank Tannenbaum Room, Columbia University, NYC

Call for Papers

The study of borderlands has grown far beyond its roots in the Turnerian frontier approach.  Bolton’s counterpoint of the Latin American borderlands has gone in many directions and some scholars have worked to tame the borderlands field by pinning down temporal and conceptual definitions and distinctions. The field, if it can be defined as such, has grown to include economic and ecological dynamics, social and familial networks, international security, and social, linguistic, and cultural frontiers. Spaces of fluidity, cultural hybridity, and contestation of power have characterized colonial and postcolonial borderland studies.

Nevertheless, the study of borderlands still struggles to move forward on the common vocabulary, concepts, and analytical tools needed to comprehend dynamics in regions where multiple communities come into overlapping contact and where borders of all sorts divide, unite, and create. At the Stony Brook University Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center we question if the emphasis on borderland space has hindered conversation between those working on what can be seen as spiritual and cultural borderlands of modernity. Furthermore, we believe that academic conversations on epistemic borderlands and border thinking have not been sufficiently incorporated in empirical borderland analyses.

Seeking to discuss these and other questions we launch this call for papers for the 16th Annual Stony Brook University Latin American and Caribbean Studies Center Graduate Student Conference.  The Borders, Borderlands, and Border Thinking in Latin America conference aims to broaden both the theoretical and empirical scope of borderlands studies in colonial and postcolonial Latin America.  Because she is a leading scholar in Latin American borderlands, whose work spans from the colonial to the republican eras and from northern Mexico to the southern Amazon, we are honored to have Cynthia Radding as our keynote speaker.

Among the questions we hope conference papers will address are:

  • What analytical lenses (race, gender, ideology, etc) can point us in fruitful directions for a more inclusive borderland approach?
  • Does broadening the concept of “borderland” (beyond a geographical scope) weaken its effectiveness? In what ways can borderlands be conceived beyond borderland spaces?
  • How have subalterns and racial “others” been represented in borderland regions? How has this representation impacted these “others” and the wider borderland society they live in? How can we move beyond seeing these subalterns as “others” toward conceptualizing them as central actors in borderland regions?
  • What mechanisms have colonial and postcolonial states used to incorporate borderland regions into centers of power? How and why have these been successful or unsuccessful?

We welcome proposals, abstracts, or papers.  Please send these, and a short CV, to: Matthew Ford ( and/or Zinnia Capó ( by March 10th, 2017.

Contact us if you need further information, or visit our website or “like” the Stony Brook University Latin American & Caribbean Studies Center on Facebook.