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.
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."