What Everyone Needs to Know about Central America in an Age of Deportation, Part 1: Views from the Northern Triangle

AHA Session 215
Saturday, January 5, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Crystal Room (Palmer House Hilton, Third Floor)
Martha Few, Penn State University
Dario Aquiles Euraque, Trinity College
David Carey Jr., Loyola University Maryland
Joaquin M. Chavez, University of Illinois at Chicago
Rosemary Joyce, University of California, Berkeley
Laura Matthew, Marquette University
Ellen Moodie, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Session Abstract

U.S. support of Central American counterinsurgencies during the Cold War produced the first waves of Central American migration to the United States. In the 2000s, popular awareness of the region in the U.S. receded. At the same time, the Central American population in the U.S. grew tenfold, mostly coming from the "Northern Triangle" of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. Central Americans have returned to public view as child migrants, workers, victims of crime, gang members, targets of deportation, and families with generational roots in the U.S. We urgently need to consider Central America in the current context of racialization, special relationships, legacies of violence, and surveillance in the U.S.

“Views from the Northern Triangle,” the first of two sessions that bring Central American and U.S. history into conversation over these issues, asks Central Americanists who have worked in the region many decades what are the essential points they think students, the general public, and our colleagues in other fields should know in the current political and deportation climate. The panel aims for even temporal and geographical coverage from ancient to modern including Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, with viewpoints also from archaeology and anthropology. We envision going beyond the usual though important discussion of US-Central American foreign relations, further back in time and stemming from our research. What is the deep historical backdrop of Central American immigration to and deportation from the U.S.? What do Central Americanists need to know from U.S. history?