BEST-BORDERLAND & ETHNIC STUDIES

BEST 510. Foundations in Borderlands & Ethnic Studies

3 Credits (3)

This seminar explores the roots, logics, and administrations of racism within the U.S. context, locally along the border, and framed within a larger global and historical context. In addition to race, other social locations such as gender, class, and sexual orientation are explored as intersectional. The course uses traditional lecture format, multi-media, guest lecturers, and engaging activities inside and outside the classroom to apply materials in tangible and impactful ways.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Identify, compare and contrast broad histories of social struggles, social movements, and ensuing human relationships.
  2. Meaningfully engage classical and new materials from the Borderlands and Ethnic Studies “canon.”
  3. Articulate observations using key terms, theories, and concepts in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies.
  4. Apply key concepts in “everyday life” via course activities.
  5. Demonstrate mindful and constructive ways to engage peers about sometimes “difficult” topics like race, power, and privilege.

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BEST 511. Methodologies in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies

3 Credits (3)

This seminar introduces the practice of indigenizing research methods by looking beyond the canon of Eurocentric methodologies that have often trapped marginalized communities outside of normative time frames. Through the deconstruction of colonial apparatuses and their influence on research methods, the class explores key concepts in decolonizing research to move us to new understandings of communities according to indigenous traditions that privilege ancestral ways of knowing. Crosslisted with: GNDR 455 and ANTH 541.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain how producing research is connected to producing knowledge.
  2. Identify and describe the impact of colonialism and imperialism on disrupting ways of knowing.
  3. Recognize political and cultural implications of the world seen as a colonial, constructed narrative
  4. Describe how a social reality can have set political and ideological conditions.
  5. Distinguish how indigenous methodologies relate to decolonizing methods.
  6. Describe how decolonizing methods are a different approach to research.
  7. Identify decolonizing methods that have been used in research.
  8. Critically engage with research lenses stemming from a decolonizing standpoint.

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BEST 512. Theories in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies

3 Credits (3)

This seminar provides a basic understanding of theoretical foundations of Borderlands and Ethnic Studies. It also examines borderlands theorizing to critically engage the border not simply as a physical barrier meant to regulate migration, but the economic, cultural, spatial, and metaphorical borderlands that informs us on larger processes of membership, belonging, identity, politics, and dehumanization linked to social structures and institutions. Social movements in the U.S. that sought to illuminate social inequalities and social justice issues are explored. The course investigates the underlying causes and sources of these social movements as they relate to reconceptualizing race and the borderlands and their overall impact on society at large. Crosslisted with: ANTH 543.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Explain how race and ethnicity has been socially constructed in the U.S.
  2. Recognize how the social construction of race and ethnicity is related to issues of social control
  3. Describe how the idea of race helps to reinforce existing power arrangements
  4. Connect historical struggles for justice and equality in the U.S. to current social and political issues dealing with the borderlands
  5. Explain hegemony and its link to shifting borders and nationalism
  6. Identify how racial beliefs are tied to laws, policies, and practices of social institutions and organizations
  7. Distinguish how biopolitics relates to the development of the border.
  8. Analyze the ways race, class, and gender serve as interlocking systems of oppression.
  9. Gain an understanding of and be able to evaluate your own worldviews and opinions towards issues of race, class, gender, nationalism, migration, borders, social movements, and resistance.
  10. 1 Critically engage and “think outside the box” when discussing the conceptualization and development of the idea of race.

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BEST 513. Capstone in Borderlands and Ethnic Studies

3 Credits (3)

This seminar is designed to culminate the graduate certificate by summarizing knowledge and experience garnered in pre-courses: BEST 510, 511, 512. Students will be asked to write a reflective essay at the start of the course that highlights 1) materials and ideas that have most impacted the student throughout the core courses, 2) discuss how the elective course complemented and expanded materials and ideas from BEST core classes, 3) what materials and ideas remain challenging to grasp, and 4) what kind of culminating project the student would like to complete. This essay will be the foundational document to carry the student through the semester, along with close guidance provided by the instructor as well as peer feedback.

Prerequisite(s): BEST 510; BEST 511; BEST 512.

Learning Outcomes
  1. Summarize, concisely, key concepts and frameworks learned in seminars BEST 510, 511, 51
  2. Express, reflectively, what these concepts and frameworks mean in the context of historical and contemporary social issues related to power dynamics created and exacerbated by hierarchies associated with racial, gender, class, sexual orientation and other positionalities.
  3. Design a culminating project that encapsulates a nuanced understanding of Borderlands and Ethnic Studies, ensuring its impact on a broader audience.
  4. Generously evaluate cohort mates’ projects as they progress during semester.
  5. Receive feedback about one’s own project and apply those comments and critiques in useful ways and in collaboration with instructor.
  6. Create/generate a culminating project that aligns with rubrics in the most effective manner possible.
  7. Present work to cohort and instructor in an effective way.

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