American Studies | U.S. Movements & Institutions: Borders & Borderlands
A201 | 33514 | Acosta

American Borderlands and Crossings

Class meets 8W2 only

How do borders shape and impact our lives? Does everyone cross
Are borders open spaces? What constitute the American borderlands?
This course examines the U.S.-Mexico border and its respective
literature on cultural borderlands and crossings as a point of
departure to analyze the historical, political, and cultural
production of borders as sites of conflict and where people’s lives
are impacted. The course has four goals: (1) provide knowledge about
the social and cultural composition of the U.S.-Mexico border region
as a setting to major public issues such as immigration,
globalization,  industrialization, transnationalism, poverty, and
culture;  (2) examine the human side of those issues by paying close
attention to the lives and quotidian struggles of people in the
borderlands; (3) place those individual lives in broader social and
cultural frameworks that connect Mexico and the United States and
beyond; and (4) analyze other  forms of “border crossings” as
experienced and conceptualized by Chicanas/os, Puerto Ricans, and
other scholars of color. In the process, we will problematize the
imagined crisis of the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as the linkages of
the social constructions of gender, sexuality, race, class, and

Required Books:
Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (3rd
edition). Aunt Lute Books, 2007.

Gaspar de Alba, Alicia and Georgina Gúzman (eds). Making A Killing:
Femicide, Free Trade, and La Frontera. Austin: University of Texas
Press, 2010.