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IS Colloquium – Roberto Hernández

January 17, 2019 @ 3:00 pm

Coloniality of the US/Mexico Border: Power, Violence, and the Decolonial Imperative

Roberto Hernandez, Associate Professor, Chicana and Chicano Studies, San Diego State University

Roberto D. Hernández will present on his recently published book, where he advances a provocative argument that borders—and border violence—are geospatial manifestations of long histories of racialized and gendered colonial violence. Drawing on the 1984 massacre at a McDonalds in San Ysidro, CA, the Minutemen civilian patrols of 2004-06, and the ongoing killing of women in Ciudad Juarez, his book provides an unparalleled interdisciplinary analysis of racialized violence on the U-S///Mexico border often overshadowed by sensationalization associated with drug-trafficking, immigration and discourses of national security. The author argues normalized anti-Mexican sentiment and border violence reveals less about existing immigration and more about how national-territorial boundaries are recurring embodiments of long-historical racial/colonial logics that continue to underpin the contemporary world. Moreover, Hernández analyses how responses to border violence often normalize, albeit inadvertently, the very structures against which the articulate themselves, and in effect imprison themselves into what he terms the “epistemic and cartographic prison of modernity/coloniality.” The volume concludes with a theoretical discussion of the future of violence at—and because of—­national territorial borders, offering a call for epistemic and cartographic disobedience as a decolonial imperative and necessary first step in evading the logics that maintain and give coherence to structures of alienation, migration, displacement, precarity and vulnerability to premature death. By considering the entangled histories of nation-building with the creation and consolidation of disciplinary divides, Hernández provides some critical directions for Information sciences and history of science scholars to shift and bring new epistemes, calendars and geographies into being.

Roberto D. Hernández is an associate professor of Chicana and Chicano Studies at San Diego State University. Raised in San Ysidro, within blocks of the busiest border crossing in the world, the US-Mexico border has figured prominently in his intellectual, political and professional development and commitments. His research, teaching and community commitments focus on the intersections of colonial and border violence, the politics of knowledge production, decolonial political theory, social movements and comparative border studies. He is the program director for two summer institutes, Decolonizing Knowledge and Power in Barcelona and Critical Muslim Studies in Granada, and a Spring Institute on Latin American Feminist and Decolonial Thought in Mexico City.  He recently co-edited the volume Decolonizing the Westernized University: Interventions in Philosophy of Education from Within and Without and is the author of the forthcoming book, Coloniality of the U-S///Mexico Border: Power, Violence, and the Decolonial Imperative.Lastly, he served on the governing Board of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies and was involved of the legal battle over the attempted banning of Mexican American Studies in Arizona in 2010.

Date: January 17, 2019

Time: 3pm

Location: GSE&IS Building, Room 111

Reception to follow

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*All colloquia are fragrance-free events. Please refrain from wearing scented products such as perfumes/colognes, scented lotions, clothing with strong detergent scents, etc. while attending this event as they can trigger serious health issues for those with fragrance allergies. We aim to maintain a welcoming and accessible environment for all faculty, staff, students, and visitors. Thank you for your consideration for all members of our community.


January 17, 2019
3:00 pm


Information Studies Department