Thursday, March 05, 2020

Steven Bender brings you, How the West Was Juan: Reimagining the U.S. / Mexico Border -- SDSU Press

How the West Was Juan: Reimagining the U.S. / Mexico Border 

How the West Was Juan creatively approaches the current political stalemate over restrictive v. compassionate border policy by imagining a different U.S.-Mexico border, one that returns to the early 1800s U.S.-Mexico border. Relocating the border serves the dual purpose of disconnecting the heated immigration debate from the current physical border, and allowing exploration of the physical and cultural space of the U.S. Southwest, where most U.S. Mexicans reside today as they always have.

A Pandora's box is opened in the hands of a master of law and cultural studies as well as history. Playful, yet historically and legally researched, How the West Was Juan demarcates a new territory for the physical, psychological, moral, and spiritual borders of our country, as well as deconstructing the inaccuracy of our traditional history books. Bender keeps us entertained with his kneading of geographical facts with history and current events, allowing us to envision different, possible borderlands, and throwing a scholarly wrench into the notion of border and belonging, as well as appropriated spaces.

About the Author 
Steven Bender is a national academic leader on immigration law and policy, as well as an expert in real estate law. Among his honors, the Minority Groups Section of the Association of American Law Schools presented him with the C. Clyde Ferguson, Jr., Award, a prestigious national award recognizing scholarly reputation, mentoring of junior faculty, and teaching excellence.

He joined the faculty from the University of Oregon in 2011 and served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development from 2014-2017. He taught at UO for 20 years and served as the James and Ilene Hershner Professor of Law, Director of Portland Programs, Director of the Green Business Initiative, and Co-Director of the Law and Entrepreneurship Center.

Professor Bender is a prolific author of many law review articles, a casebook on real estate transactions, a national two-volume treatise on real estate financing, and several acclaimed books. His latest book, the co-edited "From Extraction to Emancipation: Reimagining Development,” was published in 2018 by Carolina Academic Press and the ABA Section of International Law.

Book Reviews
"In juxtaposing those intriguing "what ifs" with the current state of affairs, the book provides a deeper and more thoughtful lens through which to see U.S. - Mexico relations, including the long and rich interconnectedness between the two countries. The author urges convincingly that a better appreciation of these historical, political, social, cultural, economic and equity-based considerations might better guide policy makers toward more compassionate and more effective solutions to present and future challenges and opportunities near the border and beyond."

"Thought provoking, questions ideologies, and discusses the conquest of the west. How the West Was Juan shows the bedrock of our current national politics about immigration and culture wars. This book is definitely a must read for anyone who wants to truly understand the hidden history of the southwest."

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

3 Photos That Will Change The Way You Think About Dance: Snapshots from "Bodies Beyond Borders"

By Madison Cappuccio

From Bodies Beyond Borders: Dance on the U.S./Mexico Border

If you were asked to describe a dancer, what kind of person would you describe? Athletic? Graceful, perhaps? These descriptions are certainly valid but now is the time to challenge how we interpret dancing and it's impact on culture. In Bodies Beyond Borders: Dance on the U.S./Mexico Border, readers will ultimately examine the relationship between dance and language.

Pilar Medina. (RocĂ­o Alejandra)
The stance depicted in this photo encapsulates expression and the body's ability to project symbolism. The shot is still, but our eyes follow the flow of her movement. She conveys beauty, strength, and power all in one swift raise.  Her body becomes a vessel as to how she communicates; she transcends the barrier of language. 

Dancers are storytellers. In the absence of words, crafted choreography is utilized to tell stories of life. Dancing depicts the innermost intricacies of the human body, mind, and spirit. 

Take a look at the facial expression of the dancer to the left-what do you see? More importantly, what does she make you feel? 

Ballet Cámara de la Frontera. (Arturo Casillas)
The synchronization of movement symbolizes solidarity. The five dancers become one as they deliver their theatrical performance. Through their shared passion, they achieve"...a means of cultural diffusion...a channel of communication and friendship."

Taller Coreográfico de la UABC. (Arturo Casillas)

Sequences of steps are employed to create a sense of surrealism. Dancers evoke emotion by use of motion to reflect reality. In some cases, dancers offer a temporary escape from reality.

These "promoters of culture" defy societal boundaries by expressing their identity through the performing arts. In Patricia Cardona's essay, "Something More Than Reptiles and Thistles" she describes dancers best: "They are like drops of water whose sound is still there, still in the spirits, still in the feelings of the inhabitants." Revolutionize the way you interpret dance by dancing  your way through Bodies Beyond Borders here.