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Gendered Violence and Drug Wars: The Mexico-US Border


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Speaker(s): Dr Melissa W Wright
Chair: Professor Anne Phillips

Recorded on 24 October 2011 in New Theatre, East Building.

Since 2006, when Mexico's President declared war against the drug trade, the people of the northern Mexican border city, Ciudad Juarez, have been living through a record-breaking escalation of violence, the occupation of their city by federal troops and police forces, unprecedented human and civil rights violations, and a pervasive experience of fear in public space. These events have occurred simultaneous to a devastating economic crisis and with the ongoing femicide that activists have fought for almost 20 years. This paper asks the question: How can a feminist and Marxist geographer contribute to an analysis of what is happening in Ciudad Juarez? To address it, I create a dialogue among activists in northern Mexico and post-structuralist feminist and Marxist positions regarding the meaning of public fear in this city for the city's residents, for Mexico's democracy and for the making of public knowledge about the Mexico-US border.

Melissa Wright is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Penn State University. She studies the dynamics linking political, cultural and economic processes. Her research is based primarily in Mexico and along the Mexico-U.S. border. She has also conducted fieldwork in southern China and in Hong Kong. Her research has focused on the emergence of an international social movement that protests violence against women along the Mexico-U.S. border. Another project has examined the meaning of citizenship in a transnational context. Her current project focuses on how violence in northern Mexico along with the federal militarization of urban space has affected public life along both sides of the Mexico-US border.

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