Thursday, May 26, 2016

CFP: Policing the North American Borderlands

[We have the following announcement seeking contributions for an edited volume.]

We solicit proposals for an edited volume entitled Policing the North American Borderlands. This volume will trace the development of state regulation and policing practices along the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders, as well as their impacts on border people during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Although war and diplomacy established borders on paper, policing made boundaries into borders and in some cases barriers.  We seek papers that examine how policies and state apparatuses create and regulate national borders and how this impacts communities which cross international divides.  We ask for papers that explore how particular legal codes and regulatory practices have attempted to define and delineate the parameters of the state; how citizenship is defined in both law and in practice; and how state regulatory apparatuses monitor and police flows of goods and people across international divides.  This book is centered on two key questions: how has the state (at the federal, state, provincial, and local levels) attempted to regulate and police people and goods at their actual borders; and how have local communities responded to, been shaped by, and/or undermined particular policing objectives and practices?

More details after the jump.

Too often, studies and discussions of the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders happen in isolation from one another.  Policing the North American Borderlands will therefore place analyses of policing practices along the northern and southern borders into direct conversation with one another.  We are especially interested in papers that take a comparative and connective approach.  How have states implemented policies and practices along the contested terrain that makes up each border region?  How do concepts of race, ethnicity, gender, and power shape interactions along these borders?  By examining the history of policing North America’s borderlands comparatively, we hope not only to trace the development of very different national borders but also shed light on contemporary border security concerns.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The creation of borders and nation-states as legal entities.
  • Historical analyses of agencies tasked with regulating and policing national lines.
  • Vigilantism, extralegal, and unofficial forms of regulating border regions.
  • The history of immigration regulation in the US, Canada, and Mexico.
  • Fugitives and legal ambiguities along the borders.
  • Alcohol prohibition and its impact on border communities.
  • The extension of border policing beyond actual physical border regions.
  • Native and local communities’ interactions with federal, state, and regional state agencies.
  • The War on Drugs and its effects on border policing and border communities.
  • Smuggling at the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders.
  • The impact of shifting racial and ethnic ideologies on policing practices.
  • Contested notions of 'violence' in the borderlands.
  • The relationship between border policing, immigration policies, and the rise of mass incarceration.
  • Regulating gender and sexuality at national boundaries.
  • Human rights activism and efforts at reshaping policing policies.
  • Militarizing national boundaries.
  • Cultural representations of border policing in film, television, music, and print media.
  • The impact of 9/11 on policing practices.
Interested authors should submit a two-page CV as well as a 500-800 word abstract.  Abstracts should detail how the paper will engage with issues of policing in the borderlands, as well as key arguments and methodology.  Abstract proposals are due by August 31, 2016.  If accepted, the full paper will be due by February 1, 2017.  Please send proposals as well as any queries to


Holly M. Karibo is an assistant professor of borderlands history at Oklahoma State University. Her book, Sin City North: Sex, Drugs, and Citizenship in the Detroit-Windsor Borderland was published as part of the David J. Weber Series in New Borderlands History at The University of North Carolina Press (2015).

George T. Díaz is an assistant professor of borderlands and Mexican American history at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  His award winning book, Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling across the Rio Grande, was published with the University of Texas Press (2015). 

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