Daily Archives: December 7, 2009

Last Thoughts

This short article seems to resonate with some of the things Prof. Franks discussed in lecture today regarding the increasing porosity of borders in an age of globalization.

From the LA Times:

Drone aircraft will be used to nab illegal immigrants on California-Mexico border

December 7, 2009 | 7:33 am

Predator drones, the unmanned aircraft used by the U.S. military in the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones, will soon be employed to track illegal immigrants on the Mexico-California border.

The drone, which will be unveiled later today, will be operated out of the Antelope Valley by the military contractor General Atomics. The drones will fly above the border region with advancing electronic tracking equipment looking for illegal immigrants crossing into California.

According to the San Diego-based company, the drones will transmit information to U.S. authorities on human smuggles as well drug smuggling.

Such drones are already used on the border of Texas and Arizona.

Three things to note:

a) if in fact political boundaries are increasingly open to human migration or other demographic shifts, then there is clearly an effort on the part of nation-states to regulate those “flows.”

b) this particular effort uses military-grade hardware operated by a private company. Remember that one of the core tenets of neoliberal globalization (aka Empire) is the diminution of the public sector in favor of private “solutions.”

c. the mission of the drone surveillance includes not only “illegal” immigration– here described as “human trafficking,” which raises the specter of what in the 1910s was called “white slavery” (the traffic in young women, enslaved for nefarious purposes)– but drug interdiction. We could view this pairing of law enforcement mandates as a means of establishing an equivalence between them via reification– i.e. both dope and undocumented workers are a form of contraband.


d) the methods and technologies being used in foreign wars are now trickling into mainstream law enforcement in the US. If you recall the Pittsburgh demonstrations against the G8 earlier this year then you’ll no doubt remember that local police used a sonic weapon called an LRAD first deployed in Iraq. Now predator drones are cruising not only the US-Mex. international border, but between states such as Texas and Arizona. I think we can see this as a provisional confirmation of one of the remarks I made during last Wednesday’s lecture: that Empire disturbs the distinction between inside (domestic) and outside (foreign).

Final Exam Prompts

Here they are. If you have any questions about anything we’ve covered including the prompts for the final address them here so that everyone can benefit from your inquisitiveness.

AMS 1B / Fall 2009 Connelly, Franks, and Sansbury

Essay Questions for the Final Exam (in your Seminar Room)

One of the following three essay questions will be selected for the final exam, which will take place on Friday, December 11, 9:45 to 12noon, in our Seminar Rooms. The essay portion of the final will be worth 40% of the total exam grade.

Both the Beats and Weatherman (the Weather Underground Organization or WUO) criticized or attempted to revolutionize Cold War America. What is the form and substance of this criticism/attempted transformation of the social and cultural landscape of the United States? What were its results?

The struggle for democracy in America has pushed diverse Americans to claim membership in the People’s Club. Based on the readings and lectures, analyze this struggle for inclusion in the People’s Club. Have these struggles worked? Has the U.S. effectively become a democracy? In your analysis, focus on the post-World War II experiences of FIVE of the following overlapping groups: 1) African Americans, 2) Asian Pacific Americans, 3). Latino/as, 4) American Indians, 5) women, 6) gays and lesbians, 7) and the poor. Be sure to be specific enough to demonstrate you’ve done the reading and paid attention in class. Be sure to use the lectures, primary sources from Heath, and secondary sources such as Norton to back up your analysis.

Consider the post WWII women’s movement. 1) How does it compare with other “rights” movements? Other “liberation” movements? How do you explain the similarities and differences? 2) In what ways did the conflicts among women with different backgrounds and views hurt the movement? In what ways did they advance it? Draw on the lectures, the Norton textbook, and readings about post-war social movements for evidence. Be sure to use at least three of the following readings: Vicki Ruiz, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., selections from Sing a Battle Song, Audre Lorde, Combahee River Collective, and Gloria Anzaldúa.