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Guest Speaker - Dr. Jaclyn Jeffrey

“Living in the Shadow of an ‘Occupied Zone’: The Impact of the Mexican Drug War on Laredo, TX”

PSRC 107, March 19, 2012 — from 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

From 1998 to 2011, Jaclyn Jeffrey lived and worked in Laredo, Texas, one of the nation's largest inland ports, a major entry point for drugs entering the U.S, and sister city to drug-cartel-controlled Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.  As a cultural anthropologist who studies communities in crisis, she has been uniquely positioned to observe the beginning and mid-term impact of the Mexican drug war on everyday lives of Laredoans.  In this presentation she will talk about how Laredoans attempt to normalize the situation and avoid conflict as they go about living in the shadow of an “occupied zone.”

Dr. Jeffrey is an academic late-bloomer who obtained the Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Florida in 2000 (M.A. University of Texas, B.A. Baylor University) Before becoming an anthropologist, she was a journalist, librarian, and then oral historian at the Baylor University Institute for Oral History for 15 years.  After obtaining her doctorate, she taught at Texas A&M International University from 1999 to 2011.  Dr. Jeffrey’s major interest is in how communities use their folk histories as weapons of resistance to change and as mechanisms for coping with crises.  She has conducted fieldwork throughout the American Southwest, Mexico, the British West Indies, southern France and northern Spain, on projects ranging from natural disasters, to refugee relief, to development-induced displacements.  Her most recent long-term research has focused on a village in Asturias, Spain, reluctantly undergoing a shift in its economy from fishing to tourism as the unfortunate consequence of overfishing the North Atlantic.

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