Professor of History Honored by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians

Devra Anne Weber, associate professor of history, has been honored by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians for the best article in any field of history other than the history of women, gender, and/or sexuality. The Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians is the major national organization of women historians.

The article also won the 2017 Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award for “the most deserving contribution” to the Pacific Historical Review, a journal of the history of the American West and the Pacific rim. PHR is also the official journal of the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association.

Devra Anne Weber

Weber’s article, “Wobblies of the Partido Liberal Mexicano: Reenvisioning Internationalist and Transnational Movements through Mexican Lenses,” appeared in the May 2016 issue of the Pacific Historical Review. The article examines the Mexican grassroots base of the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM) and PLM members who belonged to the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) in the early 20th century.

Weber’s article challenges previous conceptualizations of critical labor organizing in the borderlands that is not seen as being advanced by Mexicans. “PLM supporters were organizing for a Mexican revolution, and some did so while organizing locals of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW),” Weber said. “Within the context of the intense migration of the period, labor and revolutionary foci moved across binational spaces of the borderlands, facilitating the spread of ideas, organizing, strikes, and revolutionary forays that were, in effect, binational ‘circularities of struggle.’ Many of these organizers were also indigenous Mexicans. These Mexican ‘wobblies’ of the PLM – often overlooked – challenged industrial capitalism, questioned U.S. imperialism and racism, and helped launch the first social revolution in Mexico. This perspective reframes the IWW as one part of a spectrum of organizations attempting to counteract dispossession; yet it simultaneously reveals the organization as more expansive, diverse, multilingual, and transnational than previously presented.”

“I’m hoping these awards are indicative of Mexicans being seen and fully recognized as critical to the history of internationalist organizing and social movements,” Weber said.

 

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