Contested Terrain: Conflict Along the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

History 103E.002

Spring 2012
Instructor (text): 
115 Barrows
Day & Time: 
Tu 2-4P
  • Note new room.
<p>Melisa Galvan is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department. She is currently writing a dissertation on the political and cultural economy of a port in northeastern Mexico during the early nineteenth century.</p>

The region referred to as the U.S.-Mexico borderlands has been the subject of wide-ranging popular and scholarly treatment, especially focusing on politics, cultural contact, economic exchange, and violence. Our readings will cover examples of how the geo-political boundary and socio-cultural space encompassed by the region have produced persistent debate about identity formation, the fluidity of the border, and the inability of governments to restrict the movement of peoples and goods. Through our close reading of primary and secondary sources, we will explore several questions throughout the semester: How are borderlands defined? What role do the historical shifts in political boundaries that have occurred along the U.S.-Mexico border play in defining the geographical limits of borderlands?? What are the origins of cross-border violence, and how have official approaches to dealing with this violence changed over time? How does the historiography on borderlands contribute to an understanding of the causes of, and popular and official reactions to, the Drug Wars currently underway? This seminar will provide students with a general understanding of the scholarship and theoretical foundation of U.S.-Mexican borderlands history. No previous knowledge of Latin American history is required.