University Of Southern Denmark

Borderlands: A Cultural History of US Immigration


Iowa State Course Substitution

ME Humanities Elective


Course Info

International Credits: 5.0
Converted Credits: 3.0
Country: Denmark
Language: English
Course Description:
There is perhaps no issue in 2016’s presidential race so urgent and so hotly contested as immigration. As candidates and the American public debate what the movement of people across borders means for the country, this course will holistically examine the spatial and ideological construction of America’s borderlands. From an historical perspective, we will learn about early debates regarding the boundaries of the nation, and the military and cultural conflicts they precipitated. We will focus our attention most deeply, however, on border issues as they play out after World War II. How has the contemporary American border been constructed physically and discursively as a realm of (in)security, exchange, labor, contagion, cooperation, and pleasure? How does its relative porousness or militarization relate to American identity? How do immigrants themselves imagine the border? How do they negotiate their own borderland identities? Case studies might include the mid-century Bracero programs, performances by native Mexican tribes, bi-national cooperative programs managing the health of sex workers, and Park51 (the “ground zero mosque”). Course materials will be drawn from historical texts, news reports, film and literature. At the end of the course, students will: be able to identify the key debates and events that have informed US border policy; be able to situate historically and engage critically with contemporary rhetoric related to immigration to the United States; be more comfortable analyzing (through writing) cultural texts through the lens of history.


Evaluation Date:
November 21, 2016
Christian Schwartz