Writing Seminars: The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

In the last year, President Donald Trump has planned to deport millions of Mexican Americans and build a multi-billion dollar wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Although Trump’s ideas often seem unprecedented, they are rooted in previous attempts to manage mobile communities, police international boundaries, and define national identities. In this course, we will situate current events in the social, cultural, and environmental histories of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. By drawing on anthropology, geography, philosophy, history, literature, and political science, we will ask and answer a range of questions about this inequitable yet interdependent region: How has the U.S. tried to control indigenous and Mexican territories? How have conquered people and migrants adapted to and influenced their new homes? How have ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and class operated on both sides of the border? These historical questions will lead us to a range of theoretical inquiries: What are borders—are they physical boundaries, or are they psychosocial conditions? Similarly, what are nations—are they flexible and diverse communities, or are they stable and homogeneous groups? Ultimately, what are human beings—do they have inalienable rights, or can they be labeled as illegal aliens? In a world increasingly divided between citizens and migrants, we will use writing as a form of critical reasoning, cross-cultural understanding, and political debate.


Students who wish to enroll in this seminar should participate in online preregistration, which opens at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, August 23 and closes promptly at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, August 28, 2017.

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TTh 9:00am-10:15am