The conference is organized and sponsored by the UTEP Department of History and its doctoral program. The creation of the UTEP doctoral program in Borderlands History is largely the result of the Chicano/a struggle for equal treatment and justice in Texas. In 1987, LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) and MALDEF (Mexican American Legal and Defense Fund) filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Ann Richards, charging the state with discrimination against Mexican-American students as evidenced by disparities in higher-education funding between the Texas border region and the state's metroplex. Only 10 percent of the state's educational funding went to institutions in the border region where 20 percent of the state's population resided. Additionally, prior to the lawsuit, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board had refused requests from UTEP to establish new doctoral programs, arguing that its role was to serve as a feeder institution to universities such as UT-Austin and Texas A&M. At that time, only two of Texas's 589 doctoral programs were located in the border region. Regional disparities in doctoral education, therefore, was one facet of the LULAC-MALDEF case. LULAC and MALDEF won the case but the Texas Supreme Court overruled the decision in 1993. Nonetheless, the case played a significant part in creating a shift in higher education in the Texas border region. Today, UTEP has 22 doctoral programs, one of which is the PhD in Borderlands History established in 1999.
In its first fifteen years, 22 students have received doctorates in Borderlands History from UTEP. Graduates of the program have obtained teaching positions at institutions which include UNC Pembroke, Sarah Lawrence College, California State University Northridge, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of Texas-Pan American, the Citadel, Loyola Marymount University, Fiji National University, Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas (Mexico), and UTEP. Another graduate serves as the director of the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization in Chicago.
Students and graduates of the UTEP doctoral program have received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the AAUW, the Fulbright Program, William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University, among others. They have published monographs with The University of North Carolina Press and the Edwin Mellen Press, while others currently have book contracts with the University of Arizona and the University of Illinois. Students and graduates have also published articles in the Journal of the History of Sexuality, Pacific Historical Review, Historian, Journal of Intercultural Studies, Relatos e Historias en México, among others. They have participated in community projects which include Museo Urbano, a "museum of the streets" focused on the history of El Segundo Barrio in South El Paso. Current students are exploring topics which range from histories of birth control and midwifery in the US-Mexico border region to the Chicano movement in New Mexico to espionage on the border.
Brochure: PDF (891KB)