A map of Mexico.

ASU selected as host for the Association for Borderlands Studies


Jamie Ell

As the conversations surrounding borderlands continue to evolve, so too does Arizona State University's role as a thought leader in the global discourse on borderland studies.

ASU, in association with the School of Transborder Studies, has been selected as the host institution for the Association for Borderland Studies (ABS).

The association is the leading global, scholarly association in the field of borderland studies, with more than 1700 memberships in 55 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa. Members include individual scholars, international organizations, and professionals from various universities, who are dedicated to the systematic study and exchange of ideas related to borderlands and frontier areas.

As the host institution, ASU will assume ABS's administrative duties to both support and amplify the association's goals.

The importance of ASU’s commitment to borderland studies in Arizona should come as no surprise, said Francisco Lara-Valencia, associate professor in the School of Transborder Studies and ABS president-elect.

“If you consider that the major trading partner of Arizona is Mexico, and that one in three Arizonans have some connection with Mexico, it is easy to fathom the importance of border studies for ASU,” Lara-Valencia said.

But behind the veil of Arizona and Mexico’s mutual economic partnership, lies a parallel, national conversation about border security and immigration, Lara-Valencia added: "One portraying it as a resource, and the other one as a hazard.” 

Being in Arizona provides ABS and ASU with the unique opportunity to be engaged in the global conversation about borders and transborder social, cultural, economic, political, and environmental realities. 

“In many ways, Arizona is ground zero for border studies,” said Lara-Valencia. “Scholars and policy-makers in other border regions of the world are looking at Arizona for understanding and experience that can be useful in explaining their own border realities.”

ABS hosts an annual conference with its members and publishes a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal. More information about the Association for Borderland Studies can be found at absborderlands.org.

Top photo: "Mexico, 1857," School of Transborder Studies Gallery. Photo by Andy DeLisle (2014)