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U.S.- Mexico Borderlands: History, Culture and Identity   

This course establishes a broad understanding of American history as a dynamic, contested, and creative cultural encounter of Indigenous-Afro-Eurasian cultures and people. The borderlands framing is one which acknowledges the people already on the land before the arrival of Europeans, while also recognizing geopolitical conflicts of European powers in the Americas. In the context of the Atlantic world and the frontier, we will look at the formation of the United States in relation to New Spain and mesoamérica. As much a possible, we will draw on first hand accounts to illuminate the complexity of the borderlands and the implications for today. The "residue" of this history exists in our place names, foods, styles and language. By considering the creative artifacts of the past as primary historical documents including art, music, dance and spoken word expressions of identity, hybridity and nationalism in order to foster the awareness of how our contemporary ‘pluralism’ has its roots in historical borderlands.


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