Experts link murdered women and environmental ruin at the border

Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue

Experts link murdered women and environmental ruin at the border

The Rev. Daisy L. MachadoThe ongoing murders of countless women at the U.S.-Mexico border, along with devastating environmental damage inflicted by factories, are the subject of “Ecocide and Femicide on the Border: Ecofeminism and the Maquiladora Murders.” The event will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in 121 Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall.

Guest speakers are the Rev. Daisy L. Machado (pictured right), dean of academic affairs and professor of church history at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and Evelyn Parker, associate professor of practical theology at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology.

This is the final event in SMU’s seven-part 2012 “Migration Matters” series addressing the most pressing U.S./Mexico-border challenges.

Ecofeminists, inspired by theologian and nun Ivone Gebara of Brazil, have called Christians to think about the connections between poverty, violence to both the Earth and humans, and immigration. It is estimated that more than 400 female maquiladora (export assembly plant) workers have been murdered in Ciudad Juárez alone since 1993.

“This desert area, filled with toxic air and water produced by the maquiladoras, and the people who live there — poor and uneducated workers, mostly women — are devalued by a patriarchal society and commodified until they become expendable and invisible,” Machado says.

“This concerns me because these realities remain unresolved,” she adds. “So I ask the Christian community: Why are we not responding? And how can we advocate social, ecological and gender justice?”

Parker is looking forward to her conversation with Machado, with whom she has collaborated in the past. But this powerful subject, she says, “will take on new complexities — and possibilities.”

The program is supported by SMU’s Office of the Dean of Dedman College; the Geurin-Pettus Program; the Scott-Hawkins Fund; the Embrey Human Rights Program; the Department of English; the George and Mary Foster Distinguished Lecture in Cultural Anthropology; and the Center for the Study of Latino/a Christianity and Religions in Perkins School of Theology, with funding from The Henry Luce Foundation.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information, contact series coordinator Jayson Sae-Saue, Department of English, 214-768-4369.

Written by Denise Gee

> Learn more about the 2012 “Migration Matters” series from SMU News

April 26, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Series explores ‘the concept of home’ with El Norte screening April 4

A film poster from Gregory Nava's 'El Norte'SMU’s 2012 “Migration Matters” series continues Wednesday, April 4, with a film classic that raises important issues concerning U.S. immigration. A screening of El Norte, featuring commentary by SMU Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Caroline Brettell, is scheduled for 6:30-8:30 p.m. in SMU’s McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

The Academy Award-nominated 1983 documentary, directed by Gregory Nava, focuses on two Guatemala Mayan peasants, a brother and sister, who flee their country because of political persecution and head north (el norte). The film traces their journey, border-crossing experiences and subsequent life in the U.S. as undocumented immigrants.

“It raises poignant questions about the concept of home and touches on a host of issues important to understanding U.S. immigration,” Brettell says.

For more information about this event or others in the series, contact “Migration Matters” coordinator Jayson Sae-Saue, Department of English, Dedman College, 214-768-4369.

Shirin Tavakoli contributed to this report.

> Find the full “Migration Matters” schedule at the SMU News website

April 4, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

‘Migration Matters’ takes on elections, law & language March 29

U.S.-Mexico border

The U.S.-Mexico border, as seen from space.

SMU’s “Migration Matters” series continues Thursday, March 29, 2012, with its fourth event – a panel discussion of “Elections, the Law and Languages at the Border.”

The discussion, free and open to the public, takes place 5:30-7:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Featured speakers include:

The seven-part series, running through April 26, features compelling and knowledgeable artists, educators, faith leaders and law enforcement insiders to share the latest information on border-related migration trends, crime, politics, humanitarian efforts, art and literature. All events are free and open to the community.

For more information about this event or others in the series, contact “Migration Matters” coordinator Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue, Department of English, Dedman College, 214-768-4369.

> Find a complete “Migration Matters” schedule at SMU News

March 29, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

‘Migration Matters’ series continues with ‘Border Myths’ Feb. 22

Is there a real threat of Islamic terrorists crossing into the United States from Mexico? Is the Mexican justice system doing everything it can to curb drug cartel violence? And is America enabling U.S.-Mexico border problems by providing too many willing illegal drug buyers and too-easy access to assault weapons?

U.S.-Mexico border

U.S.-Mexico border as seen from space.

A noted panel of U.S.-Mexico border scholars will explore these issues Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 in “Barbed-Wire Art, Border Myths and Immigration Violence,” the third event in SMU’s interdisciplinary “Migration Matters” series. The discussion, free and open to the public, takes place 5:30–7:30 p.m. in McCord Auditorium, 306 Dallas Hall.

Featured speakers include:

  • Maria Herrera-Sobek, professor of Chicana/o studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Josiah Heyman, anthropology professor at the University of Texas, El Paso
  • Roberto Villalon, sociology professor at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in New York.

The panel will examine how and why negative myths continue to circulate around immigration and the U.S-Mexico border despite reliable information proving them false, says “Migration Matters” coordinator Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue, an English professor specializing in Chicano/a literature in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. “The panel will also address how pictorial narrative is a powerful means by which artists have attempted to make visible the conditions that reductionist rhetoric and myths obscure,” he says.

Migration Matters lecture series at SMUUTEP professor Heyman proposes that people re-examine such images and stereotypes in two ways: “Where do they come from,” he asks, “and how do we achieve a more critical, complex understanding of them?”

For more information about this event or others in the series, contact Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue, 214-768-4369.

Written by Denise Gee

February 21, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|

Luís Urrea kicks off SMU’s 2012 “Migration Matters” series Jan. 26

Luis Alberto Urrea, author of 'The Hummingbird's Daughter,' 'Queen of America' and 'The Devil's Highway'Luís Alberto Urrea – author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter, Queen of America and the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Devil’s Highway – returns to the Hilltop Jan. 26, 2012, to speak in a new SMU discussion series.

“Migration Matters: An Interdisciplinary Program on Immigration at the U.S.-Mexico Border” will feature artists, educators, faith leaders and law enforcement insiders to share the latest information on border-related migration trends, crime, politics, humanitarian efforts, art and literature. The seven-part series runs Jan. 26-April 26, and all events will be free and open to the community.

Urrea leads off the series with a discussion of his border-related writing and reportage. He came to campus in 2008 to discuss The Devil’s Highway – the true story of the Yuma 14 tragedy, and that year’s Common Reading for new SMU students – and spoke to a standing-room-only crowd in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater. Most of the University students who read The Devil’s Highway for Common Reading are seniors this year.

> SMU Forum: Author Luís Urrea talks about life and death on the border

“We want this to be a sustained discussion for our students, not just for these next four months, but one that will continue to influence their intellectual identities beyond their SMU years,” says “Migration Matters” coordinator Jayson Gonzales Sae-Saue, an English professor specializing in Chicano/a literature in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. Literature can be a powerful conduit to discussing current events, Sae-Saue says.

“This subject isn’t about so-called ‘foreigners’ and making distinctions between ‘us’ and ‘them,’” he says. “It’s about understanding how we imagine complex social relationships that implicate everyone. It’s a community issue, one that will allow our students to learn to understand the broad scope of migration-related topics in this election year, and as they move into leadership positions after graduation.”

Urrea’s work in particular, Sae-Saue notes, “helps us make sense of the complicated social, cultural and economic dynamics at the U.S.-Mexico border, including the chaos and confusion regarding the dangerous journey people face when crossing it — and the hostility faced once they arrive here, if they arrive here.”

Written by Denise Gee

> Find more information and a complete “Migration Matters” schedule at SMU News
> More about Luís Alberto Urrea’s The Devil’s Highway as the 2008 SMU Common Reading
> Luís Alberto Urrea on KERA Public Radio’s “Think” Jan. 23, 2012

January 24, 2012|Calendar Highlights, News|
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