Border Crossings


Border Crossings, A Doctoral Seminar, University of Texas - Pan American, 29 Jul-4 Aug 2014; Deadline 18 May




July 29 – August 4, 2014

University of Texas—Pan American, Main campus, Edinburg, Texas, USA

Application Deadline: May 18, 2014 (20 seats available for non-UTPA students)



Russell W. Belk, Marketing & Consumer Research, University of York, Canada

Margaret Dorsey, Anthropology, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

A. Fuat F?rat, Marketing & Consumer Research, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

Ann Jordan, Applied Anthropology, University of North Texas, USA

Lisa Peñaloza, Marketing & Consumer Research, Bordeaux Management School, France

Richard Wilk, Anthropology, Indiana University, USA

Jerome D. Williams, Management & Global Business, Rutgers Business School, USA

Cory Wimberly, Philosophy, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

Mohammadali Zolfagharian, Marketing & Consumer Research, University of Texas—Pan American, USA 



Mohammadali Zolfagharian
Associate Professor & Chair
Department of Marketing, University of Texas—Pan American
1201 West University Drive BUSA 211B Edinburg, TX 78539-2999 USA
Tel: 956-381-3389   Fax: 956-381-2085   E-mail:


Building upon the success of our previous seminars (see the Appendix), University of Texas—Pan American is pleased to invite applications for the Fourth Intensive Doctoral Seminar dedicated to the fascinating, important and timely topic of border crossings.


Globalization and cultural turn to postmodernity have had unique and extensive influences upon consumption values and behaviors (Angus 1989; Applebaum and Robinson 2005; Ritzer 2007).  With globalization already in progress for a number of decades, a far-reaching transformation has befallen people’s potential and actual consumption horizons, in terms of what products and activities are possible to be considered as part of one’s consumption.  Specifically, the globalization of media and growth of international trade already have widened consumption possibilities that consumers perceive world over.   

The aforementioned trends have also impacted on categories of distinction that widely organized status and identity for modern citizens (Bauman 1995).  These categories included nationality and country as part of the political scene.  Nation-states were, indeed, how modern societies organized themselves, thus imbuing national borders with great authority and meaning.  Crossing such borders were both physically and mentally taxing.  When these borders were crossed, it meant and involved encounters with foreigners and with all that was ‘foreign’.  Thus, borders, specifically national borders, were extremely significant in defining who one was and where one belonged. 

The relationships people have had with and the meanings they attach to borders are in a constant flux.  With globalization, distinctions are now less and less matters of physical borders/categories, and more and more involve symbolic borders and categories, which decisively determine how people organize their lives.  Consumers today more than ever perceive national borders as spatial articulations of symbolic differences between nations and states.  Since all physico-spatial spaces are symbolic artifacts, one must regard national borders as a subset of symbolic borders.  Thus, the meaning of national border is socially constructed based upon a preexisting, culturally specific mode of thinking about space.  Also called conceptual or abstract borders, symbolic borders exist on the plane of the mental or metaphorical landscape (Bames-Brus 2005). They represent demarcation (e.g., inside-outside, left-right), and come to bear when one uses or experiences any of the many spatial metaphors of crossing. 

The key purpose of this seminar is to familiarize doctoral students attending the seminar in some depth about the state of knowledge regarding the effects of symbolic borders, as well as the acts and experiences of crossing them, on consumers and on marketing. The seminar will also explore significant theoretical implications of this recent knowledge.  A particular attention will be given to exploring consumer and marketing related theoretical implications of political borders and crossing experiences therein. The latter is important because the modern world we inhabit today is divided into countries with strictly specified and protected borderlines between them (Dussel, 1998; Mignolo, 1998); yet, the economic impact of consumers crossing those borders around the world makes this phenomenon an indispensable topic for marketing research. The US-Mexico border, for example, witnesses the crossing of just below one million people daily; and over 2% of retail spending in Texas is contributed by Mexican shoppers who return to their home country within a few days (Canas, Coronado, and Phillips, 2006; Phillips and Coronado, 2005). Such crossings have enabled retail locations in border regions to rank among the nation’s top contenders in terms of per-square-foot sales volume, which in turn facilitates urban and community developments in those regions (Ghaddar and Brown, 2005; Turbidy and Pistilli, 2006).  In summary, the seminar will strive to achive the following two outcomes:

ü  To provide PhD students and other researchers participating in the seminar with insights not only about crossings of political and organizational borders but ideological and symbolic borders, as well. As such, borders, and crossings thereof, germane to this seminar include all socially constructed lines that demarcate people, things and ideas (e.g., gender, ethnicity, race).

ü  To provide participants with conceptual and analytical tools that enable them to identify, understand and theorize border crossings into consideration.


Doctoral students must apply and be accepted.  Each student submits a letter of interest explaining how s/he would benefit from the seminar and describe the research s/he is planning to conduct or is in the process of conducting.  When the students are selected to participate, they are sent a readings list that contains between 1,000 and 2,000 pages of readings.  The list is sent at least 2 months before the seminar starts.  The students come to the seminar having read the readings and well prepared for the presentations.  The seminar lasts 7 days, up to 12 hours a day.  On the first day, the students present their research projects to the faculty and get feedback.  Starting on the second day, faculty members make presentations and meet with the students on a one-on-one basis during breaks and meals.  The students also have time set aside to meet in groups to discuss presentations made by the faculty as well as to discuss each other’s projects.  On the last day, each student makes a presentation detailing how their projects have been rethought and augmented through the seminar.  Students are then given two months to submit their seminar papers to the coordinator and identify the names of two faculty members who will review and grade their papers.  Ideally, the seminar would result in 26 publishable papers. Please pay particular attention to the following requirements:

       ü  There will be an emphasis on each participant’s own research project.

       ü  Active student participation during the seminar is a must.

       ü  There will be mandatory readings before, during and after the seminar.

       ü  Each applicant must submit two versions of their research paper, one at the time of application and the other two months after the seminar.

       ü  Evaluation of student performance will be based on the improvements made in the second submission over and beyond the first submission.

       ü  Certificates of participation will be sent only to those attending the entire seminar and found to meet the evaluation criteria in a satisfactory manner.

Although the seminar is very intensive and demanding, past students have described them as academic-life changing experiences.  Students are exposed to each other from different programs and different parts of the world as well as to faculty members they would otherwise not have a chance to interact with.  Three such seminars were held at the University of Texas—Pan American in 2008, 2009, and 2012 as shown in the Appendix.  In addition to these seminars, the organizer has led a multi-country, multi-level qualitative investigation of border crossing since 2009, resulting in several conference presentations and multiple journal articles.  The proposed seminar will build upon these success stories.


The seminar will take place on the main campus of UTPA, Edinburg, Texas, USA. Seminar participants will stay at Echo Hotel


The seminar fee is $1,400 US Dollars. It includes all meals and lodging expenses from Monday night (July 29) to Monday noon (August 4). If you plan to bring your partner, let us know as soon as possible so we can make the necessary arrangements. There’ll be a smaller fee for accompanying but not participating partner depending on your specific decisions.

We strongly recommend that you fly to McAllen-Miller International Airport (MFE), where a UTPA faculty or student will pick you up. Alternatively, you may fly to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston and travel the remainder of the route on ground. It takes about 6 hours to travel by car between Houston and Edinburg.


To apply, email the following to latest by May 18, 2014. You will be notified regarding the status of your application approximately two weeks after receipt of your complete application. Seminar fee will be due 10 days after your admission confirmation but no later than May 18.

          ü  CV

          ü  A statement of purpose

          ü  One recommendation letter, ideally from your academic advisor


Russell Belk is past president of the International Association of Marketing and Development and is a fellow and past president of the Association for Consumer Research.  He initiated the Consumer Behavior Odyssey, the Association for Consumer Research Film Festival, and the Consumer Culture Theory Conference. His awards include the Paul D. Converse Award, the Society of Marketing Advances Distinguished Marketing Scholar Award, and the Sheth Foundation/Journal of Consumer Research Award for Long Term Contribution to Consumer Research. His research involves the meanings of possessions, collecting, gift-giving, materialism, sharing, and global consumer culture.  He is currently Professor of Marketing and Kraft Foods Canada Chair in Marketing at the Schulich School of Business, York University in Toronto, Canada and holds honorary professorships in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.  His work is often cultural, qualitative, and visual. He has published approximately 550 articles, books, chapters, and videos. Most recently he co-wrote or co-edited the books: Qualitative Consumer and Marketing Research (2013), Research in Consumer Behavior (2012), The Routledge Companion to Digital Consumption (2013), and The Routledge Companion to Identity and Consumption (2012).  A 10-volume edited set of his works with comments is being published by Sage.

Margaret Dorsey is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Curator of the Border Studies Archive at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA). Before joining UTPA, Dr. Dorsey was Visiting Faculty with the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.  Dorsey’s current research with Anthropologist Miguel Diaz-Barriga focuses on national security and militarization of the U.S.-Mexican border region.  They have a book under contract related to their year-and-a-half of ethnographic fieldwork on border security funded by the National Science Foundation. They are completing a journal article and series of invited book chapters related to this topic.  Dorsey also conducted extensive fieldwork on marketing in South Texas, focusing on marketers and marketing to Mexicana/o residents.  That work culminated in a book titled, Pachangas, as well as a series of journal articles.

A. Fuat F?rat is Professor of Marketing at the University of Texas—Pan American and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland.  His research interests cover areas such as macro consumer behavior and macromarketing; postmodern culture; transmodern marketing strategies; gender and consumption; marketing and development; and interorganizational relations.  He has won the Journal of Macromarketing Charles Slater Award for best article with co-author N. Dholakia, the Journal of Consumer Research best article award with co-author A. Venkatesh, and the Corporate Communications: An International Journal top ranked paper award with co-authors L.T. Christensen and J. Cornelissen.  He has published several books including Consuming People: From Political Economy to Theaters of Consumption, co-authored by N. Dholakia, and is the founding editor of Consumption, Markets & Culture.

Ann Jordan is Professor of Anthropology, University of North Texas and an applied anthropologist who specializes in business anthropology, especially organizational anthropology. Her work includes studies of health care systems, organizational culture and change, mergers, self-managed work teams, and global organizational networks. Recent work in Saudi Arabia included a study of organizational issues in a state-owned hospital as well as an analysis of the ways in which Saudi Arabia, a recently emerged economy, drives and benefits from globalization. In globalization studies she is interested in the ways organizations partner, network, decouple, and recombine to create new global organizational forms. Recently she has been working with hospitals in the United States on organizational issues around patient satisfaction and patient safety. Additionally she has worked on collaborative projects with American Indians. She speaks on business anthropology in venues around the world, most recently in China, Denmark and Japan.

Lisa Peñaloza is Professor, Kedge Business School, Bordeaux, France; and Senior Researcher, Center for Consumer Culture Theory, Stockholm University. Her research employs ethnographic and photographic research methods in examining how consumers and marketers together produce and navigate cultural meanings, economic values, social identities and relationships in and outside the marketplace. Projects have ranged from the normalization of credit and debt in the US, cultural memory for ranchers and city slickers at a western U.S. stock show and rodeo, elderly identity, Latino market development, immigrant consumer acculturation, the nature of value in sustainable businesses, and organizational identity in international marketing strategy. Her work has been published in such journals as the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing, Consumption, Markets and Culture, Public Policy and Marketing, International Journal of Research in Marketing, Marketing Theory, Journal of Strategic Marketing, and the International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy. She also works in documentary film and theater. The film, Generaciones explores consumption and marketing in developing Mexican American community in South Texas (2005, 47 minutes). The play, Dinner with Marx and Baudrillard, set in a small town on the Turkish Mediterranean, features a reunion of student activists who had been imprisoned during the 1980 market reforms as they compare the contemporary political potential of labor versus consumption. She is a former coeditor of Consumption, Markets, Culture, and of the textbook, Marketing Management: A Cultural Approach, with Nil Toulouse and Luca Visconti (Routledge, 2012).

Richard Wilk is Provost’s Professor of Anthropology and director of Food Studies at Indiana University. He has done research on a variety of topics in Belize since 1973, in several West African countries, and in suburban and rural areas of the USA. He has also worked as an applied anthropologist with UNICEF, USAID, Cultural Survival and a variety of other development organizations. His initial research on farming and family organization was followed by work on consumer culture, globalization, television, beauty pageants and food. Much of his recent work has turned towards the history of food, the linkages between tourism and sustainable development, and the origin of modern masculinity. His publications include more than 125 papers and book chapters, a textbook in Economic Anthropology, and several edited volumes, The most recent books are “ Time, Consumption, and Everyday Life (with Elizabeth Shove and Frank Trentmann, Berg Publishers), and “Rice and Beans: A Unique Dish in a Hundred Places” (with Livia Barbosa, Berg).

Jerome D. Williams is a Distinguished Professor, the Prudential Chair in Business, and Interim Director and Research Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development, in the Department of Management and Global Business, Rutgers Business School-Newark and New Brunswick.  His current research interests cover a number of areas in the consumer marketing domain, with an emphasis on multicultural marketing.  He has conducted research on marketing communications and promotion strategies targeting multicultural market segments and consumer behavior of multicultural market segments related to public health communication issues.  He was a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Food Marketing and Diets of Children and Youth that authored the report Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?  He also is co-editor of Advances in Communication Research to Reduce Childhood Obesity.

Cory Wimberly is Associate Professor of Philosophy at University of Texas Pan American with a focus in social and political philosophy.  He is currently working on a manuscript that explores the birth of public relations as a privatization of liberal governmentality that pioneers the commodification of the government of public opinion.  He is also interested in the related functions of marketing and advertising in producing and governing a consumerist public.

Mohammadali Zolfagharian is the Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Marketing, University of Texas—Pan American. His research interests include consumer (culture) behavior, services, and social/macro marketing using both quantitative and qualitative (i.e., ethnographic) approaches. His research is published in several books and journals such as Decision Sciences Journal, Journal of Services Marketing, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, Journal of Consumer Marketing, and Services Marketing Quarterly. He has collaborated with or provided consulting to several organizations including Motorola, Hospice, The Entrepreneur Authority, and City of McAllen.


Intensive International Doctoral Seminars previously held at the University of Texas—Pan American


1.  Topic: The Consuming Body & Markets

      Meeting Dates:  June 21-27, 2012

      Faculty:      Dominique Bouchet, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Antonio A. Casilli, Telecom Paristech ENST, France

A. Fuat F?rat, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

Michele Goodwin, University of Minnesota, USA

Elizabeth Hirschman, Rutgers University, USA

Michael Minor, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

Jeff Murray, University of Arkansas, USA

Cory Wimberly, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

Mohammadali Zolfagharian, University of Texas—Pan American, USA


2.  Topic: Brands and Their Global Impacts

      Meeting Dates:  June 14-20, 2010

      Faculty:      Dominique Bouchet, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Nikhilesh Dholakia, University of Rhode Island, USA

A. Fuat F?rat, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

Sidney J. Levy, University of Arizona, USA

Celia Lury, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK

Alladi Venkatesh, University of California, Irvine, USA

Mohammadali Zolfagharian, University of Texas—Pan American, USA


3.  Topic: Marketing, Development and Globalization

      Meeting Dates:  May 19-26, 2008

      Faculty:      Richard P. Bagozzi, University of Michigan, USA

Russell W. Belk, York University, Canada

Nikhilesh Dholakia, University of Rhode Island, USA

A. Fuat F?rat, University of Texas—Pan American, USA

Alladi Venkatesh, University of California, Irvine, USA

Mohammadali Zolfagharian, University of Texas—Pan American, USA


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