Contact: Meredith Dickenson or Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7654

March 19, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Scholars of the U.S./Mexico borderlands will discuss how social control was exerted on the Spanish frontier at a conference at SMU from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 6, in the Meadows Museum of Art.

"Social Control on Spain's North American Frontiers: Choice, Persuasion and Coercion" is being presented by the SMU William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies in Dedman College. Registration is $30, $20 for students, and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. The conference will be held in the Smith Auditorium of the Meadows Museum, 5900 Bishop Blvd. General admission without the lunch is $5, which will permit people to enter the banquet hall after lunch to hear the keynote speaker. For more information, contact the Clements Center at 214-768-1233.

The conference marks the culmination of a yearlong dialogue among scholars of Mexico, Spain and the U.S. about the degree of social control exerted by Spanish authorities against its subject peoples, in particular native Americans. New scholarship will be presented at the conference that will challenge stereotypical views of Spanish control over the communities within its frontier, which ranged from Florida to California. The ideas presented at the conference will shed light on the complex social interaction between Spain's military and church representatives and the native American people. In addition, conference organizers say understanding how social control worked on the Spanish frontier will help historians study the other great colonial power on the North American continent, the British.

"Compared to the British colonial settlements, where native people were excluded and pushed out, historians have viewed the Spanish frontier as a zone of inclusion," said David Weber, director of the Clements Center and one of the nation's leading historians of the Southwest and the borderlands. "But the broad category of inclusion masks a variety of ways in which Spaniards sought to control subjects and potential subjects."

Some of the best borderland scholars in the world will attend the conference. Nine scholars will present papers: Juliana Barr, professor of history at Rutgers University; José Cuello, Center for Chicano-Boricua Studies at Wayne State University; Cecilia Sheridan, historian with CIESAS COAHUILA in Saltillo, Mexico; Ross Frank, professor of ethnic studies at the University of California at San Diego; Cynthia Radding, professor of history at the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana; Susan Deeds, professor of history at Northern Arizona University; James Sandos, professor of history at the University of Redlands; Jane Landers, professor of history at Vanderbilt University; and Gilbert C. Din, professor emeritus of history at Fort Lewis College. Frank de la Teja, professor of history at Southwest Texas State University, will preside.

Some of the topics to be presented include "Beyond Their Control: Spaniards in Native Texas," "Hierarchies of Race in Colonial Mexico: The 'Sistema de Castas' as a Form of Social Control in Saltillo, 1771-1791," and "Magic, Fantasy, Gender and Power in Nueva Vizcaya." The conference will conclude with a special panel discussion in which the eminent anthropologist Alfredo Jiménez Núñez, professor emeritus at the Universidad de Sevilla, will participate. All the presentations will be delivered in English, but Spanish speakers will be available for media interviews. The papers presented at the conference will be published by the Clements Center.

The Clements Center for Southwest Studies promotes research, publishing, teaching and public programming in a variety of fields related to the American Southwest.