Courses, Border Studies | Earlham College
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Courses offered in our Program

Borderlands Field-Study Practicum (6 credits)

The Border Studies Program (BSP) engages in a pedagogical practice known as praxis, or the place where contemplation and action come together, and the field-study practicum is perfect example of this type of learning. The practicum structure of this course means that in addition to intellectual learning students will also gain practical skills and experiences. For many students, their field-study site is one of the most enriching, thought-provoking, challenging, and informative aspects of their time on the Border Studies Program.  The primary component of this course will be the eight hours that students spend every week at their field study site. The field-study practicum also meets two hours a week during which students explore themes of personal identity and social justice, engage in dialogue with community leaders from field-study sites, and troubleshoot issues that arise.  The culmination of the field-study practicum is a required 10-15-page auto-ethnography, discussing pertinent experiences at the organization as viewed a self-reflective analysis of their role and positionality at the site. 

Español in the Borderlands (4 credits)

Learning a new language—or giving priority to a language other than English —is a political act. In schools, an emphasis on non-English languages as "foreign" maintains the status quo. This course will be different from other language classes you may have taken, as it will be taught through a content-based approach and will give priority to the voices of those most affected by unjust systems. We will be very intentional to teach Spanish as a language of the actual people that speak it and will explore themes that directly relate to their experiences as opposed to teaching Spanish as a language of the "other" as is commonly done in "foreign" language classes across the US. Through the Spanish language, we will explore certain themes of the program such as border enforcement, neoliberalism, ethnic studies, feminism, free trade, food justice and more. This course would not exist without the input and centering of a multitude of teachers throughout Tucson. Lastly, this course gives us the opportunity to explore together how our language(s) inform(s) how we view our own identities, our interactions with other people, and our political views. *See the Language Learning page for information on the Community Spanish Class

Movement and Movements: A Political Economy of Migration Seminar (4 credits)

Dr. Geoffrey Alan Boyce teaches this class to provide robust insight into the global political and economic trends that drive and condition patterns of transnational migration in North America and beyond.  This biweekly seminar places current trends in historical and geographic context and considers a variety of alternatives and solutions proposed by distinct sectors of society in Mexico and the United States.  Topics considered include settler colonialism, critical race theory, immigration law, neoliberalism, mass incarceration, social movements and border abolition.  Reading assignments are designed to complement and provide background and context for the people, places and topics approached throughout the BSP semester.  

Routes y Raíces: Towards Collective Power (4 credits)

To better understand the place and moment that we presently inhabit, it is important to examine the past both in its myriad of voices and in its silences.This class engages with the histories that have shaped the economic, political and cultural landscape of the borderlands and beyond. It is not a comprehensive history, but one chosen to highlight spaces and moments that can serve to develop critical analytical tools and challenge hegemonic and reductive narratives. This class uplifts the writings of indigenous peoples, POC particularly women of color, activists and organic intellectuals, and the Global South. We will examine a number of interrelated topics and struggles including food sovereignty, food justice, environmental racism, immigration, the prison-industrial complex and detention, border militarization, art and representation. Knowledge is produced in a number of spaces, within and outside academia, and is shaped by different individual and collective experiences so our class materials will reflect that.


Virtual program courses offered during the pandemic

EPIC 312 Current Events in the U.S./Mexico border region | Eventos actuales en la región fronteriza de los EE.UU y México (2 credits)
This class is constructed around a series of online webinars and seminars focused on current events and community organizing in the U.S./Mexico border region. Weekly webinars will afford an opportunity to learn from activists and practitioners on the frontlines of social justice struggles throughout Mexico and the United States. Topics include: Trump administration asylum policies and the transnational borderlands during Covid-19; indigenous resilience, militarization, and the coloniality of the U.S./Mexico border; language justice, migration and border militarization; gender, sexuality and migration; unpacking the U.S. Midwest as a borderland.

EPIC 313 Tools and Strategies for Organizing and Social Justice | Herramientas y estrategias para la organización y la justicia social (2 credits)
Survey of approaches to organizing and social justice, with a focus on migrant rights. Topics include: Unpacking the tensions between grassroots organizing and legal avenues in the struggle for immigrant rights; language justice – tools and training for social change; wellness and the politics of wellness; social struggle, healing justice, and artistic expression; and self-defense for social justice and community autonomy.

EPIC 481 Virtual Border Studies Internship (0 or 2 credits)
A virtual internship placement with one of the organizations in the U.S./Mexico Borderlands region focusing on transnational migration, human rights, sustainability, and related issues. Occasional group meetings to reflect on the experience and discuss its broader contexts.



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Earlham College, an independent, residential college, aspires to provide the highest-quality undergraduate education in the liberal arts and sciences, shaped by the distinctive perspectives of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers).

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801 National Road West
Richmond, Indiana
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