In October of
I loaded up my
pickup and left Namiquipa,
Chihuahua, with my then wife. We were anthropology graduate students
and, having just conducted two and a half years of fieldwork in rural
Mexico, were looking forward to returning to the States, settling in, and
writing up the results ofour research. Matters were not helped when, at a
party in Chicago a few weeks later, one ofmy thesis supervisors welcomed
me back with the observation, "You know, Daniel, generally it takes about
twice as long to write up as it does to do the research." I headed for the
back porch and drank some tequila.
As it turned out, the major "life difficulty" in the years that followed had
less to do with a thesis-like albatross hanging about my neck and more to
do with the impermanence of my residences: eight months in Chicago,
two more months in Namiquipa, nine months in San Diego, four months
in Tucson, four months in Providence, six months in Riverside, then a
move to Austin for two years (the
died on the way there). I
actually defended my thesis within less than two and a halfyears ofleaving
the field. But in the interval, I'd gotten involved in some other projects
which directly flowed into the production of the volume you now hold in
your hands. Teaching students at the University ofChicago for
a week
did not cut it in the Reagan years; I needed some support.
I found it in southern California. In San Diego I was a visiting research
fellow at the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies,
That remarkable
and wonderful institution (I hated my time there at the time) was founded
under the direction of Wayne Cornelius. The greatest feature of
the Center, in my opinion, is its Resident Fellows program, which throws
together scholars of radically different backgrounds and divergent experi-
ences from Asia, Europe, Mexico, and the United States, provides them
each a desk and a monthly check, and permits them to get on with their
own work, whatever it might be. The results are as varied and provocative
as the fellows that spend time at the Center. Admittedly, there is a Noah's
Ark-like quality to the fellows each year: a communist economist for every
apparatchik from the Mexican Ministry ofBudget and Planning; a former
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