[URBANTH-L]References Request--MX-US Migration

Josiah Heyman jmheyman at utep.edu
Fri Dec 19 18:09:30 EST 2008

People have made many great suggestions.  Wow!

I'm glad to see lots of mentions of Ruben Martinez's Crossing Over.  A truly
superior work of reportage.  One minor note: he treats Cheran, Michoacan, as
if it were newly impacted by out & return migration, but in fact people have
been migrating from there to the U.S. since the beginning of the 20th
century.  But this is a small hesitation about a great book.

Art: Jorge Durand and Douglas Massey's Miracles on the Border, which has
many wonderful illustrations.  It is about retablos, which are a commercial
folk art in Mexico often used for mandas, purposeful prayers & vows,
including for loved ones crossing to or inside the United States.  Some of
the stories behind the retablos will break your heart.

Music: besides researching the recordings themselves (see Arhoolie records),
you might want to look at the work of Maria Herrera-Sobek, especially
Northward Bound, a book about migration corridos.  Does anyone know if
Arhoolie issued a record of migration corridos?

Commercial imagery: while we are looking at migration, it might be
interesting to look at images of resistance to migration & change, in the
magazine covers and other mass media images found in Leo Chavez's two
important books, The Latino Threat and Covering Immigration.  Break your
heart also, but in a different way.

Folk expression: a regrettably little noticed book is Between the lines:
letters between undocumented Mexican and Central American immigrants and
their families and friends, edited by Larry Siems.

Does anyone know of any other books of letters or direct reminiscences by
migrants themselves (there is Gamio's book of interviews from the 20s, which
is invaluable, but I wonder if there are other more recent works in the
words of migrants themselves)?


On 12/19/08 10:23 AM, "Hilary Dick" <hdick at temple.edu> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues:
> I am writing to ask for suggestions on non-social science readings on
> Mexico-US migration. These suggestions are for an interdisciplinary
> course in the humanities I will teach this spring.
> My syllabus already covers the key anthropological and sociological
> literature on Mexico-US migration, but I need to include more
> "humanistic" readings. Unfortunately, I am not as familiar as I would
> like with the literature on Mexico-US migration in the humanities, so
> any recommendations on readings from literature, cultural studies, and
> so on‹including novels and poetry‹are most welcome. Also, if you have
> any favorite movies to recommend, I am interested in that as well. For
> your information, I have included a brief course description after my
> signature.
> Thank you for your time and help‹and Happy Holidays.
> Yours Sincerely,
> Hilary Parsons Dick, PhD
> Humanities Fellow, 2008-2009
> Center for the Humanities
> Temple University
> http://www.temple.edu/humanities/
> hdick at temple.edu
> Phone - 215-204-6386
> Fax - 215-204-8371
> COURSE TITLE--Words of Passage: Interpreting Mexico-US Migration
> Using the tools of narrative and discourse analysis, this course will
> examine the motifs, themes, and ideological frameworks that recur in
> discussions and representations of Mexico-US migration. In so doing,
> the course will examine images and ideas about migration found not
> only in scholarship, but also in non-fiction essays, novels, poetry,
> visual art, the news, and movies. These materials are selected in
> order to make the experiences of migrants palpable. As part of this,
> the course will consider some of the major economic and political
> factors that shape migration patterns, placing contemporary Mexico-US
> migration in its historical context. It will also investigate the
> socio-cultural beliefs and practices inform migration processes.
> Finally, it will use art and literature that captures the affective,
> psychological, and spiritual aspects of migration to convey the
> traumas and exhilarations that accompany it.
> _______________________________________________
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> URBANTH-L at lists.ysu.edu
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Josiah McC. Heyman
Professor of Anthropology
Chair, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
University of Texas at El Paso
500 W. University Ave.
El Paso, TX 79968 USA
jmheyman at utep.edu
915-747-7356 (phone)
915-747-5505 (fax)

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