Human Rights Award Goes to Study of Boom and Bust in US Rust Belt and Mexican Factories Towns

Chad Broughton's compelling book looks at how economic forces affect the lives of both Illinois and Mexican factory workers.
Chad Broughton's compelling book looks at how economic forces affect the lives of both Illinois and Mexican factory workers.
Chad Broughton

Author Chad Broughton has won the 2016 Washington Office on Latin America -Duke Human Rights Book Award for his book about the ripple effects of a single Illinois factory closing and reopening in Mexico.

Broughton will receive the award at Duke on March 23.

“Boom, Bust, Exodus: The Rust Belt, the Maquilas, and a Tale of Two Cities” (Oxford University Press, 2016) uses a transnational and longitudinal approach to tell a human and humane story of the NAFTA-era from the point of view of those most caught up in its dislocation. These include former industrial workers and their families in the Rust Belt; assemblers and activists in the borderland factories known as maquiladoras; and migrant laborers from the Mexican countryside.

Broughton, senior lecturer in public policy studies at the University of Chicago, conducted several years of fieldwork in the United States and Mexico, and interweaves stories of people, places and policies in this narrative account.

"I’m deeply honored to receive the WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award,” he said. “After an election cycle filled with divisive sloganeering about trade and immigration, I believe it’s critical to move beyond demagoguery in order to understand these complex social and policy issues as they are felt in the everyday lives of working people on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. I hope “Boom, Bust, Exodus” has contributed to the effort to amplify their voices and their cause."

First awarded in 2008, the WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award honors the best current fiction and non-fiction book published in English on human rights, democracy and social justice in contemporary Latin America. The books are evaluated by a panel of expert judges drawn from academia, journalism and public policy circles.

"This is a timely reflection on the plight of labor as a result of globalization. The longitudinal interviews of American workers are excellent and we feel for each individual," said Leonor Blum, WOLA-Duke Human Rights Book Award Committee chair and emerita professor of history and political science at Notre Dame of Maryland University.

For more information, contact Patrick Stawski, Duke University Libraries, at (919) 660-5823 or patrick.stawski@duke.edu.