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Alberto Wilson III


Mellon Fellow

Affiliation at time of award:
Assistant Professor, History
Texas Christian University

Paulla Ebron, SAR Wenner-Gren Fellow, 2022-2023

Alberto Wilson III
Photo courtesy of Alberto Wilson III

Pan American City: Work and Community in Ciudad Juárez, 1945 to 1994

Dr. Wilson’s book project explores the lives of Ciudad Juárez’s working residents during the final third of the twentieth century with the arrival and consolidation of the maquiladora (duty-free border-zone factory) along the U.S.-Mexico border. In what has been a story of tragic telling, Wilson’s research instead locates the agency of working juarenses (someone from Ciudad Juárez) and specifically centers on the colonias populares (working-class districts) as sites of insurgent place-making. Using land and census records, technical planning studies, newspapers, and oral history, Dr. Wilson’s work finds communities created out of poverty and neglect that reveal the scarring logics of neoliberal capitalism that simultaneously presented a set of oppositional politics and identities that contested the myth of the inviolability of the free-market. A story of binational proportions, his work also investigates how the changes in Ciudad Juárez’s occupational structure had resounding effects on El Paso, especially its poor and Mexican American community.