Cristina Rivera Garza "Domestic Archaeology of Deportation"

Tue, Nov 10, 2020, 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Cristina Rivera Garza

The crash of 1929 and the migration policies of president Hoover forced thousands of Mexicans out of the United States. Deportees found their way back into Mexico, where they reinvented their lives. Post-revolutionary regimes of the time had initiated an ambitious state-led cotton program right on the border between Texas and Tamaulipas. They expanded the threshold of the desert with massive works of water infrastructure, deriving water for agricultural purposes from the Río Grande for the first time, and set the financial basis for national and international investments in the area. To be successful, the cotton program needed expert workers--and the deportees from the United States, with vast experience as cotton pickers in southeastern ranches, came to play fundamental roles here. In this cross-genre creative non-fiction account of the process, I unearth a series of domestic objects to trace the history of my grandparents as they crossed the border, cleared the land, and developed a new life as the brave ejidatarios who created one of the most daring and successful Cardenista programs in the north of Mexico.

Author, critic and translator, Cristina Rivera Garza, has published various books in Spanish in the last two decades, obtaining some of the most prestigious awards both in Mexico and abroad (Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award 2001 and 2009; Anna Seghers Award 1995; Roger Caillois Award 2013). Recent work published in English includes: The Iliac Crest, translated by Sarah Booker (The Feminist Press, 2017; And Other Stories, 2018); The Taiga Syndrome, translated by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana (Dorothy Project, 2018; And Other Stories, 2019). Forthcoming fall 2020: Grieving. Dispatches from a Wounded Country, trans. by Sarah Booker (The Feminist Press, 2020); The Restless Dead. Necrowriting and Disappropriation, translated by Robin Mayer (Vanderbilt University Press, 2020); The Castañeda. Suffering Narratives from the General Insane Asylum, Mexico 1910-1930 (Oklahoma University Press, 2020). Forthcoming in Spanish: Autobiografía del algodón (Random House, 2020). Since 2016, Rivera Garza has also been a distinguished professor and founder of Ph.D. in Creative Writing in Spanish at the University of Houston.

Discussant: Michael Wood, Department of English, Princeton University

Co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Program in American Studies and Program in Latino Studies

Photo: Violette Bule

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Cristina Rivera Garza "Domestic Archaeology of Deportation"
Tuesday, November 10, 5:00 – 6:30pm

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