Smuggling along the U.S.-Mexico border will be the topic of discussion as Dr. George Diaz delivers the 2015 Rothbaum Lecture entitled “Prohibition and Porous Borders: Unintended Consequences of the 18th Amendment” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, in the Estep Multimedia Room of the Bill S. Cole University Center.
The lecture is free and open to the public. The event is being held in conjunction with Constitution Day.
Diaz, an assistant professor of history at Sam Houston State University, is the author of the award winning book, “Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling across the Rio Grande,” which was recently published by the University of Texas Press. He teaches courses in U.S. History, Texas History, North American West History, and Mexican American History at Sam Houston University.
His research on smuggling is credited from investigations of Mexican and U.S. archives and from his lifetime of living on the border between the two countries. He has designed and taught courses on smuggling in the U.S-Mexico borderlands.
In his book, Diaz reveals the differences between the process of smuggling in 1848 and 1910 to the process of smuggling today. Greater restrictions have transformed smuggling from a low level mundane activity, widely accepted and still routinely practiced, into a highly profitable more dangerous criminal enterprise.
He was also a contributor to the 2012 book “Smugglers in Dangerous Times: Revolution and War in the Tejano Borderlands,” in War Along the Border: The Mexican Revolution and Tejano Communities. That book opens the reader’s eyes to the dangers of smuggling activity.
The Rothbaum Lecture is funded through an endowment established by the late Julian
Rothbaum with a $25,000 gift to the ECU Foundation, Inc. that was matched by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. He also established an endowment to fund the George Nigh Award for ECU’s top graduating senior.
Rothbaum, who lived in Tulsa, was a longtime leader in Oklahoma civic affairs, a 1986 inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame and a former member of the Oklahoma State Regents for High Education and the University of Oklahoma Regents.