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UCR scholar, book to appear at prestigious Mexico book fair

UCR scholar, book to appear at prestigious Mexico book fair

(September 11, 2000)

Award-winning University of California, Riverside Anthropology Professor Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez will attend the prestigious Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara, Mexico Nov. 25 to Dec. 3, 2000 to discuss the Spanish edition of his 1997 book "Border Visions."

The book weaves his family's history, which criss-crosses between Arizona and the Mexican State of Sonora, while also tracing migrations from Mesoamerica to the United States Southwest from pre-European times to the present. "Border Visions"; has contributed to a Mexican surge of interest about the border region as evidenced by the author of the prologue to the Spanish version, Carlos Monsivaís, an internationally recognized Mexican social and literary critic.

The English language edition received the National Association of University Librarians "Choice" award for Outstanding Academic Book in Social and Behavioral Sciences for 1997.

The book's presentation at the Guadalajara book fair is a confirmation of its impact on Latin American literary and scholarly circles, according to Vélez-Ibáñez. The fair is one of the Spanish-speaking world's most important and respected venues for Latin American and Iberian authors. The books presented are by invitation only.

"Border Visions" details how Spanish colonists used ancient Native-American trade routes and established towns stretching north from Southern Mexico to the present-day states of New Mexico and later Arizona, Texas and California. This occurred about the time English colonists were getting a foothold on America's eastern seaboard. Those routes, which connected Mexico and the U.S. Southwest culturally and economically, are still used, he said.

"The book in Mexico has taken off, mostly because people there didn't know this," Vélez-Ibáñez said. The ongoing connections between Mexico and the U.S. Southwest have been maintained by the continuous flow in both directions of commerce, culture, and people across the region. That flow has blurred the traditional visions of the international boundary, an artificial concept, the book contends.

Vélez-Ibáñez used materials from a variety of disciplines to document the "search for cultural space and place" of ancient and contemporary Mexicans in the border region.

He hopes the book may help shape public policy. It is being read in the Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry and in Mexican Consular offices in the U.S., he said. "I hope that their U.S. counterparts do the same."

Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez was awarded the Presidential Chair in Anthropology at UCR in July. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City in February; and was the Visiting Scholar at the UC, San Diego Center for U.S. Mexico Studies in 1999-2000. He was formally a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 1994-95.

Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez can be reached at (909) 787-5018. He can be reached by e-mail at

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