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CSER W3935 Historical Anthropology of the US-Mexico Border. 4 points.

Not offered during 2022-23 academic year.

Beginning in the 1980s, border crossing became an academic rage in the humanities and the social sciences. This was a consequence of globalization, an historical process that reconfigured the boundaries between economy, society, and culture; and it was also a primary theme of post-modernist aesthetics, which celebrated playful borrowing of multiple and diverse historical references. Within that frame, interest in the US-Mexican border shifted dramatically. Since that border is the longest and most intensively crossed boundary between a rich and a poor country, it became a paradigmatic point of reference. Places like Tijuana or El Paso, with their rather seedy reputation, had until then been of interest principally to local residents, but they now became exemplars of post-modern “hybridity,” and were meant to inspire the kind of transnational scholarship that is required in today’s world. Indeed, the border itself became a metaphor, a movable imaginary boundary that marks ethnic and racial distinction in American and Mexican cities. This course is an introduction to the historical formation of the US-Mexican border.