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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jose A Lucero
JSIS B 525
Seattle Campus

Special Topics in Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism

Topics vary, but focus on the politics of race, ethnicity, and nationalism viewed from a broad, comparative, interdisciplinary perspective. Emphasizes cross-cultural, and the geographical coverage may be regional or global.

Class description

This course explores ethnicity and nationalism through a focus on borders. Borders are places, histories, and sites of power. The US-Mexico border is of course not the only place where, as Gloria Anzaldúa says, worlds "grate against" each other and bleed; borderlands throughout the Americas (and beyond) constitute sites of conflict, friction, but also (on occasion) solidarity. Though borderlands are by no means unique sites of violence, they are nevertheless important fault lines along which the friction of globalization has become especially severe. This course puts this violence in theoretical and comparative perspective by examining a century of subjective, objective, and symbolic violence on Mexico’s northern border with the United States and southern border with Central America. Organized historically and thematically, the course examines the political and social construction of borders through an exploration of the intertwining processes of military conflict, economic integration, and migration.

Student learning goals

Student will: (1) gain a historical understanding of border politics in the Americas;

(2) acquire a strong grasp of theoretical understanding of borders and violence;

(3) enhance critical reading, writing, and research skills;

(4) gain experience in leading seminar discussion and sharing the results of independent research project.

General method of instruction

Weekly reading and writing assignments; seminar style discussion.

Recommended preparation

Some knowledge of the history of Latin America and/or previous study or race, ethnicity or nationalism is recommended, but not required. The only requirement is a strong interest in the theme of the course and a willingness to engage course materials and class discussions actively.

Class assignments and grading

Short weekly response papers will serve to inform our discussion (and graded as "think pieces" not as polished essay. A longer research paper will be graded as a more serious academic work.

Grade will be based on written work and seminar participation.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 04/19/2012