Andrew Offenburger, the Richard E. Greenleaf Visiting Library Scholar, presents, "When the American West Turned South: Development and Dispossession in the U.S.-Mexican Borderlands," Wednesday, Oct. 26 at noon in the Waters Room in the UNM Zimmerman Library. The lecture is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

Wagon trains on the Santa Fe Trail. Veins of gold in southern Colorado. Irrigation canals in the Pecos and Mesilla Valleys. Railroad lines into Chihuahua and Sonora.

These were the channels of capitalist development in the U.S. West and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands, the means by which financiers and entrepreneurs powered western expansion. Offenburger's study follows these conduits of capital from the Gadsden Purchase through the Mexican Revolution, and shows how the West "turned south" into Mexico in the early twentieth century. This work reveals the myriad ways that capitalist development inevitably led to dispossession: of Native Americans, of fortune seekers, of farmers, of peones, and, on rare occasions, of the elite. By thus complicating the binary of dispossessor and dispossessed, this research suggests that iconic images of dispossession in the nineteenth century result from the same global processes persisting into the twentieth.

Offenburger is a doctoral student in the Department of History at Yale University. His research follows the historical trajectory of capitalist development in the U.S. West from southern Colorado to northern Mexico, and by so doing, his work explores the many variations of dispossession. Through this research, Offenburger aims to engage studies of the U.S. West with those of Latin America and other colonial historiographies more broadly.

While at UNM, Offenburger will examine visual and textual evidence related to development in northern Mexico and destabilization with the early Mexican Revolution.

This lecture is presented by the Latin American & Iberian Institute and University Libraries.