Posted: 2/05/20

Second TAMIU Social Sciences Lecture Series Offers ‘Maya- Mam Territorial Visions that Denaturalize Borders’ Friday


Dr. Jeffrey Gardner
Dr. Jeffrey Gardner  

The second in a new lecture series at Texas A&M International University  (TAMIU) Friday, Feb.  14 will explore the efforts by indigenous peoples divided by the Guatemala-Mexico border to create nationhood.

Social Sciences Speakers Series organizer Dr. Sean A. Maddan, TAMIU associate professor and chair of the College of Arts and Sciences’ department of Social Sciences, said the Series is free of charge and aims to encourage a discussion of contemporary issues across the social sciences. 

“We’re excited to present a slate of speakers who will introduce a range of research findings across the fields of anthropology, criminal justice, geography and sociology,” Dr. Maddan explained, “we encourage members of the University community and community at large to join us.” 

The second in the new Series, “Maya-Mam Territorial Visions that Denaturalize Borders,”  will be offered Friday in Academic Innovation Center (AIC), room 127 from 1 – 2 p.m. by Dr. Jeffrey Gardner, assistant professor of Sociology at Sam Houston State University. 

The Maya-Mam are an indigenous people divided by the Guatemala-Mexico border. In this lecture, Dr. Gardner will discuss ways that some of the Mam from both sides of the border are actively engaged in constructing indigenous nationhood across the borderland region. He will highlight how the Mam describe their ancestral territory in ways that challenge maps of the region.

The lecture draws from ethnographic research conducted on both sides of the Guatemala-Mexico border with leaders of Mam councils and individuals in their everyday lives who self-identify as Mam. Through counter-mapping efforts and other descriptions of indigenous territorial belonging, the Mam are promoting a sense of cross-border nationhood that seeks to denaturalize state borders, Gardner maintains.

Gardner completed his Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Georgia in 2017. His work has been published in various cross-disciplinary outlets, including Latin American & Caribbean Ethnic Studies, Humanity & Society, and Social Problems. In addition to his research, Gardner is passionate about teaching and active learning..

Upcoming 2020 offerings in the Series are:

Friday, March 13 – 1 – 2 p.m., AIC 127 -- “Assessing Flood Exposure and Adaptive Behavior for a Mobile Population,” by Dr. Ashley Coles, assistant professor of Geography at Texas Christian University. 

Friday, April 10 – 1-2 p.m., AIC 127 – “Criminal Justice, Civil Discourse and the Hidden Costs of Hyper-Partisanship: Evidence Across the 50 States,” by Dr. Nicholas P. Lovrich, Regents Professor Emeritus and a Claudius O. and Mary W. Johnson Distinguished Professor in Political Science at Washington State University.

For more information on the Social Sciences Speaker Series, please contact Dr. Maddan at sean.maddan@tamiu.eduor 956.326.2467.  

TAMIU is celebrating its 50th Anniversary and its 25th Anniversary at its north Laredo campus throughout 2020. A dedicated website shares the University’s remarkable transformation from a hybrid upper-level University to a full doctoral degree-granting University with over 29,000 graduates worldwide that enrolls over 8,400 students. Visit the calendar of Anniversary events, explore the University’s timeline, review alumni profiles and more at tamiu.edu/50. 

For more on the University’s story, contact the TAMIU Office of Public Relations, Marketing and Information Services at 956.326.2180, email prmis@tamiu.edu, click on tamiu.edu or visit offices in the Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library, room 268.