Viewing the U.S-Mexico borderlands as a political, economic, cultural, environmental, and historical place, this course will seek to answer some of the following questions: How do borders shape our understanding of nations and citizenship? Does the U.S.-Mexico borderlands complicate our understanding of national belonging and state sovereignty? Are border regulations effective? Are there gendered patterns to migration? How can countries facilitate trade in a world full of borders? And why do people continue to cross the border even when increasing enforcement makes it difficult to do so? By examining such topics as Spanish colonization, the Mexican American War, tariff regulations, border policing, and the increasing politicization of the border over the past three decades, we will hope to answer these questions.
Students will develop a semester-long research/creative/service project that takes a deep-dive into a topic related to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. We will also connect the course material to our surroundings by going on 1-2 field trips to local archives or to the border itself. By the end of the course, students will understand that the U.S.-Mexico borderlands is a vibrant and complex place born out of conflict, cooperation, and negotiation between people and states.