US-Mexico Borderlands
General Catalog Course Title:
Advanced Topics in Urban Studies
Terms Offered:
Fall 2013
Fall 2012
Fall 2011

This course is a research-oriented examination of the future of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. It emphasizes experiential learning, that is, 'research-by-doing,' including consideration of research design and proposal writing, alternative theoretical and methodological approaches, and the production of a high-quality research report. Students will investigate the origins, present and future of the border and develop a thorough understanding of the demographic, social, political and economic bases of an emerging ‘third nation’ along the borderlands. Student research projects will focus on devising solutions for a variety of environmental design problems, but are encouraged (for reasons of time) to choose topics for which a considerable body of research materials already exists. These include: the potential for cross-border infrastructure planning and environmental collaboration; the processes of third nation formation and how they are threatened by the fencing off our Mexican neighbors; mapping the American ‘gulag’ of migrant detention centers, deportation logistics, and other restrictive practices; moving from a north-south to an east-west orientation in cross-border geopolitical relations; border violence – guns go south, drugs go north; and conservation projects to maintain the historic border monuments. As well as analyzing conventional data sources (e.g. demographic statistics, economic trends), students will be encouraged to incorporate less conventional sources (including film, language, music, art, cultural practices, and news media). Some knowledge of Spanish is helpful but is not required.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.