HC 101H: The U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

Professor: Tobin Hansen

4.00 credits

• CRN 16608: Monday & Wednesday, 1015-1145 @ LLCN 125

What is a border? This course examines the U.S.-Mexico borderlands region and the historical legacies of its peoples, cultures, and politics. By focusing on this region, we will gain insights more broadly into transborder communities; change and exchange in cultural and political borderlands; border policing; transnational migration and displacement; trafficking and smuggling; borderlands violence; and how borderlands are portrayed in politics, popular culture, and media.

Borders divide, harden, and thicken. They also bring together and soften across nations, states, cultures, and geographic territories. How have these processes played out in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands? Do the United States and Mexico share an open border over which people and things flow freely? Or is the U.S.-Mexico border better described as blockaded, perforated, or militarized? And what influences your perceptions of the borderlands region as lawless and dangerous or orderly and peaceful?

In examining these questions through various intellectual lenses, we will sharpen our ability—individually and collaboratively—to critique arguments, weigh evidence and sources, express ideas in conversation and writing, and approach learning with humility.

What are the circulations, encounters, blending, and partitions of borders, and of the historical and contemporary U.S.-Mexico borderlands? We’ll spend time together figuring that out.