Opportunity and Adaptation across the US-Mexico Borderlands
International borders are the (often invisible) boundaries where the distinct political jurisdictions, laws, and cultural traditions of two adjacent countries supposedly end. In practice, however, borderlands are spaces where political jurisdictions are often ignored, laws are difficult to enforce, and cultural traditions merge, which creates challenges and opportunities for the people and the authorities on either side of the border, particularly when the border shifts. This symposium explores some of the ways in which the residents of the US-Mexico Borderlands have adapted to the changing circumstances of the frontier over the last two centuries. Presenters will discuss how interethnic cooperation and marriage, the legal and illegal movement of people and goods, labor unionism, and other strategies have permitted border dwellers to overcome the hardships and exploitation of border life, and, in some cases, to thrive.