Fall 2007

Seminar on Race and Nation in the U.S.-Mexican Borderland

Listed in: History, as HIST-87


Rick A. Lopez (Section 01)


(LA or US) The U.S.-Mexican borderland has been the site of intense struggle and even violence over race and nation. These tensions have a long history within the region, and they have had important consequences both for the region and for the rest of Mexico and the U.S. Most studies tend to focus on either the U.S. Southwest or northern Mexico, but in this course we will attempt to unite the study of these two regions and their people. Within this land short on ecological resources, whites, Native Americans, and mestizos (mixed bloods) competed violently over politics, economics, and culture. We will discuss the similarities and differences between U.S. and Mexican understanding of the boundaries and significance of race, particularly concerning Native Americans, and how this related to politics and economics. We also consider the emergence of the European-American as the ideal U.S. type north of the border, and the mestizo as the ideal Mexican type south of the border, and how these developments impacted indigenous politics differently within the two countries. Central themes include race, gender, violence, state and nation formation, industrialization, colonialism and imperialist expansion, popular politics, and environmental change. In addition to secondary readings, the class incorporates original documents, music, and images. Two meetings per week. Requisite: One course in either U.S. or Latin American history. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. First semester. Professor Lopez.