Reading & Composition
Movimientos Latinos: Latinx Border-Crossings in the Americas
This course approaches the North and Central American landscapes as cultural and geographical spaces that are crisscrossed with borders, both seen and unseen. Focusing on Latinx border crossings and the U.S.-Mexico border(lands), we’ll explore a tangle of themes and questions: How do borders function as physical and ideological boundaries that construct and reinforce difference, prompting us to view the Americas in terms like insiders vs. outsiders, citizens vs. immigrants, here vs. there, place vs. non-place, or humans vs. migrants, laborers, or refugees? What do borders tell us about geopolitics and the continuing impacts of settler-colonial imaginaries? And what does it mean to cross or unsettle a border, whether a national one, a cultural one, or a linguistic one?
In the spirit of not just studying, but performing border-crossings ourselves this semester, we will explore questions like these in conversation with a rich body of texts and materials produced by U.S., Mexican, and Central American thinkers that test the boundaries of nation-states, literary traditions, and historically-defined languages. Major writing assignments—including the final research paper—will be composed in English, but readings will move across Spanish(s), English(s), and Spanglish(s), as will our class discussions. Students who consider Spanish their first, ‘home,’ or heritage language are especially encouraged to join this course.
Note: This course fulfills the second semester of UC Berkeley’s undergraduate writing requirement.