History 201: Brutal Borders - The United States and Mexico in an Era of Globalization (Fall 2011)


      Fall 201
    Tuesday/Thursday: King 337
    9:35-10:50 am

    Office Hours:
    Mondays 10-11:00 am
    Tuesdays 1:30-2:30 pm
    Wednesdays 2:30-3:30, and by appointment 

    Steve Volk

Taught in conjunction with HISP-201 (Brutal Borders LxC; co-taught by Patrick O’Connor: Wednesdays, 1:30-2:20; King 327) and LATS 201 (Ciudad Juárez; taught by José Reyes Ferriz: October 10-13; King 337) 

HIST 201: Brutal Borders

NOTE: This course has a separate Spanish language section (HISP-201) that meets on Wednesdays (1:30-2:20) in addition to the regular class times. Its purpose is to allow students with at least an intermediate proficiency in reading, comprehension and speaking Spanish to engage with Spanish-language course materials and to discuss them in Spanish. In order to integrate the Spanish section into the main class, each week, the syllabus will note the readings required for everyone in the class [ALL]; readings for only students NOT enrolled in the Spanish language section [ENGL]; and readings for students enrolled in the Spanish language section [SPAN]. Readings for the Spanish section are in red in this syllabus and on Blackboard. In class discussions, the ENG students and the SPAN students will be able to discuss perspectives on the various texts (written, aural, visual) which were assigned. The Wednesday classes listed on the syllabus are only for those enrolled in the Spanish Language Section.

Course Description and Goals:

“Brutal Borders: The United States and Mexico in an Era of Globalization” is designed to provide us an intellectual space in which we can approach a set of contentious issues that seemingly have been produced by the interactions between the United States and Mexico. These include the topics of (internal) migration and (unauthorized) immigration; the production, organization, marketing, and use of illegal drugs; the organization, movement, regulation, and resistance of labor; and the production and consumption (via popular media outlets) of violence. The question that this class will raise (and that we all will consider over the course of the semester) is whether some, most, or all of these “problems” (for each is represented to us as media consumers as a “problem,” and most as a “crisis”) are produced by a larger, more systemic set of events. If so, then we will also need to consider these larger systems such as changing modes of accumulation and the impact of climate and environmental changes on the generation of human crises.

Within our examination of the interaction between the United States and Mexico, we will be aware of the many ways that the United States, as the most powerful state in the world, has imposed its interests on Mexico. But, by foregrounding larger systemic changes, we will be able to understand how larger systems are reshaping both the United States and Mexico, favoring some and prejudicing others in both national spaces.

The Border

As the title of the course suggests, this class employs the “border” as the lens which will bring these issues into focus. That means that consideration of “the border” will continually crosscut our examination of labor/capital, migration/immigration and drug supply/demand. And that means that we will begin with (and repeatedly question) what we mean by “the border.” As any traveler to the United States knows en carne propia, the border is not an imagined construction but a very real line which defines millions of lives.  Considered as a part of the very definition of the state (a bounded area), this type of border exists not only along the lines which separate the United States from Canada and Mexico, but wherever State agents can control the movement of people who look like they “don’t belong.” As individual (U.S.) states pass their own laws intended to control the movement of “outsiders,” that space has spread far beyond the U.S.’s two land borders.

At the same time, as we will discuss, the border is a zone of cultural interaction which defines a historically rich and deep process of influence and exchange. This “border” defines the U.S. Southwest, for example, but it is also present in Atlanta, and Lorain, Ohio, and Postville, Iowa. This concept of the border draws attention to the ways in which the state (imperialism), which can literally move borders, and a mobile labor force have reshaped and are continually reshaping political, economic, and cultural spaces. While our examination will pertain particularly to the “border” which connects and separates Mexico and the United States, we will continually be aware of other (similar) borders which exist in the world today. 

“Borders” have been defined as transgressive zones within which the norms that have come to define central zones are absent, ignored, or violated with greater impunity. The promise of (cheap) sex and (plentiful) drugs has long lured U.S. tourists to Tijuana or Ciudad Juárez. Similarly, the border has become a space where the “normal” types of negotiation between labor and capital have been replaced by “free” zones where other types of regulations are enforced. Increasingly, one can find such “border” zones not only deep inside Mexico, but also in the United States where methamphetamine use is at epidemic levels in rural communities in the Ozarks and elsewhere, and where massive labor reserves work outside the legal framework of labor regulations.

This course has been designed with a number of goals in mind:

Content and Analytic Goals:

  • To help students determine whether a complex set of subjects and matters of public debate/concern (immigration, drugs, violence, unemployment, migration, climate change) are parts of a more general system;
  • To suggest some analytic tools to enable the understanding (explaining and interpreting) of complex and dynamic subjects;
  • To provide students the ability to apply what is learned in the classroom to the real world beyond; and to adapt what has been (or is being) learned outside the classroom to a forum of discussion inside the classroom;
  • To provide some access to some of the voices of those for whom the border is not an academic topic, but the reality of their lives;
  • To encourage perspective taking and empathy as a means of understanding;

Skills Goals:

  • To help students become more effective writers and speakers;
  • To develop better strategies for textual (written, aural, visual) understanding;

Behavioral Goals:

  • To provide students opportunities to collaborate;
  • To encourage students to take more ownership over their learning;
  • To enable students to reflect not just on what they are learning, but how they are learning.

Course Organization

This course is based on an “active-learning” design. Briefly, rather than lectures with a modest amount of discussion, this course will be structured so that students can construct their own understandings of the content material (and of themselves as learners). There are many reasons why the course will be organized this way, but here are just two: (1) I believe that students learn best (that their understandings are deeper and their learning more significant) when they construct their own knowledge. This theory (constructivism) has been around in many different forms for nearly a century – from educational philosophers (John Dewey), to psychologists (Jean Piaget; Lev Vygotsky); to activists concerned with social change (Paulo Freire; Donald Macedo; Henry Giroux). (2) In most courses I teach, I am an “expert” in the subject matter – I have studied (and taught) the material for many years. While I have studied and written on this topic for some years, I am more “novice” than “expert.” This seems a good occasion for us to learn together, to raise our own questions and attempt to answer them. I also hope to use the knowledge and experience of students who have spent time on the border, and/or have worked with labor, migrant, or immigrant populations. In short, if you want a traditional lecture class, this is probably not for you.

Assignments, Grading, Your Responsibilities

Your primary responsibility is to be ready for class and prepared for discussion. That means that you have done the readings, prepared notes from them and have come up with a number of questions you want answered. You also will be responsible for the following assignments. You will get further information on each approximately two weeks or more before the due dates.

1st Assignment: Due October 4: Globalization Radio (collaborative project): groups of three, a recorded presentation of the theme of globalization that is designed for an audience of residents in Lorain County, Ohio (i.e., people whose news comes from local newspapers, USA today, Fox News or CNN; who don’t read news weeklies; and who are likely to be more conservative in outlook than you are). You task is to present “globalization” in a way they can understand – it is not to be an argument designed to get the audience to “like” or “dislike” globalization, but only to understand it. You will work in groups of 3 people. Your final product will be a radio script. See linked assignment for full instructions.

2nd Assignment: An informed present – Five blog posts generally due every other week from Sept. 20 to Nov. 15 (Sept. 20, Oct. 11, Oct. 18, Nov. 1, Nov. 15) Posts will be based on current news emerging from the (broader) border and your commentary based on what you are learning from the class. Each blog will be approximately 2-3 pages in length. You’ll get more instructions later. Let me know if you would like to broaden this out to a regular spot on WOBC.

3rd Assignment: What Was Left Out: Due Dec. 6. Design a course unit for this course. (Collaborative project: groups of 2)

Final Research Paper: Due December 19, 11:00 AM. Research paper on any topic that is a logical part of this course. The 13-15 page paper, which will be based on primary and secondary sources, is due Dec. 19 at 11am. Please note the interim dates at which point you will be turning in your topic, beginning bibliographies, and extended thesis statements. Full assignment is linked.

Your final grade will be determined on the following basis:            

1st Assignment (Globalization Radio):   20%

2nd Assignment (Blogging): 30% (each post accounts for 6% of the  final grade. Blogs are graded on a 0-4 point scale with 4 equivalent to an "A," 3 equivalent to a "B+/A-" and 2 equivalent to a B-/C+.)

3rd Assignment (What Was Left Out - Syllabus Assignment): 20%

4th Assignment (Research Paper): 30% (the separate components of the research paper are not graded separately; points are taken off for missing components; the final research paper grade reflects the whole project and how it was completed)

Late papers turned in without prior permission — you must request an extension before the due date of the paper — will be reduced by one grade-step for each day that an assignment is late. For example, a paper due on Tuesday, Oct. 4 turned in on Oct. 5 will get a “B-” instead of the “B” that it merited; if it is turned in on Oct. 6, it will get a “C+”, etc.

Two additional points to keep in mind:

(1) You may request an Incomplete in the class ONLY to complete the final paper. To be counted, all other work which had yet to be turned in must submitted by 4:30 PM on the last day of the Reading Period, December 16.

(2) All work must be completed for you to receive a passing grade in the class; this is true whether you are taking the course for a letter grade or the Pass/Fail option. In other words, to pass the course, you must do all the assignments.

Plagiarism and the Honor Code:

All students must sign an “Honor Code” for all assignments. This pledge states: “I affirm that I have adhered to the Honor Code in this assignment.” For further information, see the student Honor Code which you can access via Blackboard>Honor System (at bottom of page; see link in sidebar on left). If you have questions about what constitutes plagiarism, particularly in the context of joint or collective work, please see me or raise it in class.

Attendance, Tardiness, Class Behavior, Accommodation

I expect that you will attend the class regularly because you understand that you can’t take ownership of your learning if you’re not there, and because you understand that in a class of this nature you have a responsibility to your classmates to contribute. I also understand that you may have to miss an occasional class. I take attendance every day as a way to learn your names and to keep track of absences. While I don’t have a specific policy on numbers of “allowed” absences, I do reserve the right to factor excessive absence from class into your final grade.

As for coming in late, texting in class, surfing the internet, loudly slurping your morning coffee, etc., I have one central rule: be considerate to those around you and to me. If you would rather use class time to update your Facebook status, that’s up to you. But if your actions are distracting to those around you, than it’s up to more than you, so don’t do it.

Finally, if you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations, please contact me as soon as possible.

Books Recommended for Purchase:

Jefferson Cowie, Capital Moves. RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor (New York: New Press), 2001.

Timothy J. Henderson, Beyond Borders. A History of Mexican Migration to the United States (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell), 2011.

David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (NY: Oxford), 2007.

Norman Caulfield, NAFTA and Labor in North America (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press), 2010.

Margaret Regan, The Death of Josseline. Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands (Boston: Beacon Press), 2010.

NOTE:  All readings except those from books recommended for purchase (noted in the syllabus with an *) can be found on Blackboard (not EREs). Books recommended for purchase will be on reserve in the library.



Part I: Specifying Systems

Sept. 6-8: Introduction to the Course: Thinking Systemically

Sept. 6: Introduction to the Course

Sept. 7: Introducción (sin lectura)

September 8: Problematizing Borders

The syllabus (Yes, read the syllabus!)

Andrew Rice, “Life on the Line,” New York Times Magazine, July 28, 2011. The “Border” (a shorthand use which we will discuss) is produced for us on a massive and continual basis. Andrew Rice’s recent long-form piece in the New York Times is neither the best nor the worst. Read it to see the way in which he produces the border. [ALL]

Sept. 13-15: Accumulation: Capital and Labor

Sept. 13: Defining Modes of Accumulation

David Harvey, “Fordism” and “From Fordism to Flexible Accumulation,” in The Condition of Postmodernity (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), pp. 125-140; 141-172. [ALL]

*Jefferson Cowie, Capital Moves. RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor (New York: New Press, 2001), Chapter 1, 2. [ALL]

Optional: Mike Davis, “The Fall of the House of Labor,” in Prisoners of the American Dream. Politics and Economy in the History of the US Working Class (London: Verso, 1986), 102-153.

Sept. 14: Los Braceros

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Employment Security, Farm Placement Service, “Guía para los Trabajadores Agrícolas”: http://www.farmworkers.org/folletob.html and “Hijo de ex-bracero preserva en herencia de lucha,” Barriozona: http://www.barriozona.com/braceros_trabajadores_agricolas_estados_unidos_mexico_pago_ahorros_gregorio_leon_arizona.html [SPAN]

 Sept. 15: Accumulation in the Cross-Border Context

*Timothy J. Henderson, Beyond Borders: A History of Mexican Migration to the United States (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011): Chapter 1 – 3 (skim Ch. 1). [ALL]

Néstor García Canclini, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity, trans. Christopher L. Chiappari and Silvia L. López (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), pp. 228 (bottom) – 241 (bottom) [ENGL] 


Part II: Neoliberalism Re-makes the US and Mexico.

Sept. 20: First Blog post due

Sept. 20-22: Neo-liberalism: Capital and Labor in the Late 20th century

Sept. 20: Accumulation and Crisis in Mexico

*David Harvey, A Brief History of Neoliberalism (NY: Oxford), 2007. Read chapters 1-4 (1-119). [ALL]

Sept. 21: Neoliberalismo

Subcomandante Marcos, “Declaración de la Selva Lacandona,” en EZLN. Documentos y comunicados. 1° de enero/8 de agosto de 1994 (México, DF: Ediciones Era), pp. 33-35; “Durito” (10 de abril de 1994), pp. 217-219; y “Encuentro Continental Americano por la Humanidad y Contra el Neoliberalismo La Realidad, América (México, 6 de Abril de 1996), en Desde las montañas del sureste mexicano (Cuentos, leyendas y otras posdatas del Sup Marcos) (Plaza & Janés ed,, 2000), pp. 13-21. [SPAN]

Sept. 22: Neoliberalism

Finish reading and taking notes on the first 4 chapters in Harvey;

Heather Boushey, Shawn Fremstad, Rachel Gragg, and Margy Waller, Understanding Low-Wage Work in the United States (Center for Economic Policy and Research and the Mobility Agenda), 2007: read quickly and mostly look to look at the data in the charts. [ENGL]

Optional (for those with economics background):

Anwar Shaikh, “The Economic Mythology of Neoliberalism,” and Thomas I. Palley, “From Keynesianism to Neoliberalism: Shifting Paradigms in Economics,” in Alfredo Saad-Filho and Deborah Johnston, Neoliberalism. A Critical Reader (London & Ann Arbor: Pluto Press, 2005), pp. 41-49; 20-29.

Sept 27-29, Oct. 4-6: Neoliberalism and the Border [NOTE: There is no class the 29th (Rosh Hashana); students who can are invited to a campus-wide lecture on Friday, Sept. 30 at 4:30 PM; see below]


Sept. 27: The Crisis of State-Led Industrialization and Fordism

Altha J. Cravey, Women and Work in Mexico’s Maquiladoras (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998): Ch. 3 (Internationalization and Privatization: Industrialization after 1976), and 4 (The Old Model: A Case Study of State-Led Industrialization), pp. 43-70. [ALL]

*Jefferson Cowie, Capital Moves. RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor, Chapter 4 (pp. 100-126). [ALL]

Sept. 28: Lo moderno y México

Carlos Monsiváis,”Lo marginal en el centro,” en Entrada libre: Crónicas de la sociedad que se organiza (México DF: Ediciones ERA, 1987), pp. 11-15. [SPAN]

Sept. 29: No Class

Sept. 30: Replacement class for those who can make it: Wendy Call, author of No Word for   Welcome: The Mexican Village Faces the Global Economy (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press), 2011.  Mudd 050 at 4:30 PM.


Globalization Radio Project: Due Oct. 4 at the start of class

Oct 4:  Maquiladoras: Political Economy of “Cheap” Labor in Mexico

Paul Ganster and David E. Lorey, “Economic Trends since 1950: Legacies of War and A Globalizing Economy,” in The U.S.-Mexican Border into the Twenty-First Century, 2nd ed. (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008), pp. 89-113. [ALL]

*Jefferson Cowie, Capital Moves. RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor, Chapter 5-6 (pp. 127-179). [ALL]

Oct. 5: Trabajando en una maquiladora

Testimonio,” Desacatos, núm. 21 (mayo-agosto de 2006), pp. 163-170. (pdf) [SPAN]. Si les interesen, pueden encontrar más en: http://www.lasvoces.org/

Oct. 6:  Gender and Border Industrialization

Leslie Salzinger, Genders in Production: Making Workers in Mexico’s Global Factories (Berkeley & LA: University of California Press, 2003): Chapters 1-3 (pp. 1-74). [ALL]

Laura Velasco Ortiz and Oscar F. Contreras, eds., “Home Sweet Industrial Home,” Mexican Voices of the Border Region (Philadelphia: Temple University Press: 2011), 36-50. [ENG]

Second Blog: Due Oct. 11

Oct 11-13: NAFTA. Institutionalizing Neoliberalism. [NOTE: This week coincides with Reyes Ferriz’s Mini-Course on Ciudad Juárez]

Oct. 11: The Politics which Created NAFTA

*Norman Caulfield, NAFTA and Labor in North America, Chs. 2-4 (pp. 40-111).  [ALL]

“Running Scared from NAFTA,” Editorial, New York Times, Nov. 16, 1993. [ALL]

Michael Wines, “The Free Trade Accord [sic.]: Reporter’s Notebook,” New York Times, Nov. 18, 1993. [ALL]

  Bob Davis and Jackie Calmes, “Drawing Back: Nafta’s Odds Improve,” Wall Street Journal, November 17, 1993. [ALL]

Optional: You can find the text of the agreement on the NAFTA Secretariat website, WorldTradeLaw.net and the Trade Compliance Center of the International Trade Administration. Draft negotiating texts of Chapter 11 are available on the websites of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

Oct. 12: TLCAN [NAFTA] y el trabajo en maquilas

Entrevista de David Bacon con Julia Quiñones; KPFA/El programa matutino (Berkeley , California), Mayo 4, 2005 (transmitido el 8 de junio de 2005): http://www.cfomaquiladoras.org/david_con_julia.es.html [OJO: El artículo empieza despues de un espacio blanco.] [SPAN]

Oct. 13: The impact of NAFTA: Agriculture and agricultural labor

Sergio Zermeño, “Desolation: Mexican Campesinos and Agriculture in the 21st Century,” NACLA Report on the Americas 41:5 (Sept-Oct 2008): 28-32. [ALL]

Armando Bartra, “Rebellious Cornfields: Towards Foods and Labour Self-Sufficiency,” and Deborah Barndt, “Fruits of Injustice: Women in the Post-NAFTA Food System,” in Gerardo Otero, Mexico in Transition. Neoliberal Globalism, the State and Civil Society  (London: Zed, 2004), pp. 18-36, 37-51. [ALL]

Deborah Poole and Benjamín Rascón, “Eating to Dream: A Tortillería in Oaxaca,”  NACLA Report on the Americas  42:3 (May-June 2009). [ALL]

David Bacon, “Grapes and Green Onions,” in The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004), 19-41. [ENGL]


Third Blog due Oct. 18

Oct. 18-20: NAFTA and its Consequences

Oct. 18: The impact of NAFTA: Manufacturing and Industrial Labor

Robert E. Scott, “Heading South: U.S.-Mexico Trade and Job Displacement after NAFTA,” EPI [Economic Policy Institute] Briefing Paper, #308 (May 3, 2011), [ALL]

Michael Snodgrass, “New Rules for Unions: Mexico’s Steelworkers Confront Privatization and the Neoliberal Challenge,” Labor 4, no. 3 (Fall 2007): 81-103. [ALL]

Fred Rosen, “Mexico’s “New Labor Culture”: An Interview with Union Leader Benedicto Martínez,” NACLA Report on the Americas 41:5 (Sept-Oct 2008). 4 pgs. [ALL]

David Bacon, “Han Young,” in The Children of NAFTA: Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004), 80-120. [ALL]

Oct. 19: Mujeres, hijos, y el impacto de la inmigración

Sonia Nazario, “Prólogo,” La Travesía de Enrique (NY: Random House, 2006), pp. vii-xxvi. [SPAN]

Oct. 20: Overview of immigration issues since NAFTA

*Timothy J. Henderson, Beyond Borders. A History of Mexican Migration to the United States, Ch. 4-5 (pp. 90-149). [ALL]

Fall Break


Part III: Violence, Criminalization, and the Production of the “Border Crisis”

Fourth Blog Post due Nov. 1

Nov. 1, 3: Criminalizing Immigration, Criminalizing the Immigrant

Nov. 1: Towards a theory of the “Illegal”

Joe Nevins, Operation Gatekeeper and Beyond: The War on “Illegals” and the Re-Making of the U.S.-Mexican Boundary (Routledge, 2010): Chapter 1 (“On Gate Keeping and Boundary Making”), pp. 1-16; and Chapter 5 (“Producing the Crisis: The Emergence of Operation Gatekeeper”), pp. 93-117. [ALL]

Nov. 2: Desde la perspectiva del inmigrante

Emigrantes. Historias Enlazadas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74-ePrUW3RE [SPAN]

Nov. 3: Immigrants in a Neoliberal World

*Margaret Regan, The Death of Josseline. Immigration Stories from the Arizona Borderlands (Boston: Beacon Press), 2010. [Read whole book: start over fall break] [ALL]

Jim Gilchrist, “An Essay by Jim Gilchrist,” Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 22(Spring 2008). [ALL]

James Duff Lyall, “Vigilante State: Reframing the Minuteman Project in American Politics and Culture,” Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 23 (Winter 2009) [ALL]

Nov. 8: Final Research Paper Topic due


Nov. 8, 10: Violence and the Maquila: Femicide and the Border

Nov. 8: Violence.  NOTE:  We will meet at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at 9:30am

Elvia R. Arriola, “Accountability for Murder in the Maquiladoras: Linking Corporate Indifference to Gender Violence at the U.S.-Mexico Border,” in Alicia Gaspar de Alba with Georgina Guzmán, Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade and La Frontera (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010), 25-61. [ALL]

Alicia Gaspar de Alba, “Poor Brown Female: The Miller’s Compensation for ‘Free’ Trade,” in Alicia Gaspar de Alba with Georgina Guzmán, Making a Killing: Femicide, Free Trade and La Frontera (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010), 63-93. [ALL]

Alma Guillermoprieto, “A Hundred Women,” New Yorker, September 29, 2003. [ALL]

Nov. 9: Violencia, genero, y el nuevo modo de accumulación

Carlos Fuentes, “Malintzin de las maquilas,” La frontera de cristal (Punto de Lectura, 1995); pp. 121-150.  [SPAN]           

Nov. 10: Discussion of Violence and Gender in a Neoliberal Mode of Accumulation

        Reading from above.

Fifth Blog post due Nov. 15

Nov. 15-17: The Drug Trade: The Historical Context of Demand and Supply

Nov. 15: Historical Background - Supply

Paul Gootenberg, Andean Cocaine: the Making of a Global Drug (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008): Part III:  Illicit Cocaine. Chapter 6 (“Birth of the Narcos: Pan American Illicit Networks, 1945-1965”), pp. 245-290; Chapter 7 (“The Drug Boom [1965-1975] and Beyond”), pp. 291-324. [ALL]

Paul Gootenberg, “Cocaine’s Blowback North: A Pre-History of Mexican Drug Violence,” LASA Forum XLII:2 (Spring 2011):  7-10. [ENGL]

Nov. 16: La historia del narcotráfico en México

Karina Aviles, “Alarma el aumento en el consumo de drogas y alcohol entre jóvenes,” La Jornada, 13 julio 2007.[SPAN]

Nov. 17: Historical Background – Demand [NOTE: I will be out of class that day; either you will organize a discussion yourselves or I will have another option prepared.]

Steve Suo, 5-part series in the Oregonian (Oct 3-7, 2004). [ALL]

War on Drugs:  Report on the Global Commission on Drug Policy (June 2011). [ALL]

“The Altered States of America,” Mother Jones, July 2009. [Chronology] [ALL]


Nov 22, 29: The Mexican Cartels: Public and Private Drug Wars [NOTE: No Spanish section on Nov. 23; No class on Thanksgiving, Nov. 24]

Nov. 22: The Cartels

George W. Grayson, “U.S.-Mexican Narcotics Policy: The Mérida Initiative and Beyond,” in Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State? (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2010), pp. 219-249. [ALL]

William Finnegan, “Letter from Mexico: Silver or Lead. The Drug Cartel La Familia Gives Local Officials a Choice,” New Yorker, May 31, 2010. [ALL]

William Finnegan, “Letter from Tijuana: In the Name of the Law,” New Yorker, Oct. 18, 2010. [ALL]

 Nov. 29: Annotated Bibliography for Final Research Paper due

Nov. 29: Violence and Narco-Enterprise

Howard Campbell, “No End in Sight: Violence in Ciudad Juárez,” NACLA Report on the Americas 44:3 (Jay/June 2011): 19-22. [ALL]

Elaine Carey and José Carlos Cisneros Guzmán, “The Daughters of La Nacha: Profiles of Women Traffickers,” NACLA Report on the Americas 44:3 (Jay/June 2011): 23-24. [ALL]

Mark Ungar, “Some Comments on Drug-Fueled Violence in Latin America,” LASA Forum XLII:2 (Spring 2011): 14-16. [ALL]

Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 6, 7: Normalizing Violence

Nov. 30: La narcocultura

Juan Carlos Ramírez-Pimienta, “Narcocultura a Ritmo Norteño,” Latin American Research Review 42:2 (July 2007): 253-261. [SPAN]

Voz de Mando, Escolta de Guerra y Jorge, “La Hummer y el Camaro,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FZxM7h0KxQ&feature=related

Texto: http://www.musica.com/letras.asp?letra=1925737 [SPAN]

Los Tigres del Norte, “Contrabando y Traición,”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJvisERLw_0 [SPAN]

Dec. 1: Narco-culture: The Production and Consumption of Violence

Natalia Mendoza Rockwell, “Boots, Belt Buckles, and Sombreros: Narco-Culture in the Altar Desert,” NACLA Report on the Americas 44:3 (Jay/June 2011): 27-30. [ALL]

Rossana Reguillo, “’Dying Isn’t Enough,’: A Young Hit Man in Michoacán,”NACLA Report on the Americas 44:3 (Jay/June 2011): 25-26. [ALL]

Charles Bowden, “The Sicario: A Juárez Hit Man Speaks,” Harpers (May 2009). [ALL]

Alma Guillermoprieto, “Days of the Dead: The New Narcocultura,” New Yorker, Nov. 10, 2008. [ALL]

NPR segment on narcocorridos (via YouTube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zjyDGnDUXs [ENGL]

YouTube clips: http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/01/pl_narcoscorridos/ [ENGL]


 What’s Left Out Assignment: due Dec. 6

 Dec. 6. Femicide: Solving Murder in the Popular Culture

 Steven S. Volk and Marian Schlotterbeck, “Gender, Order, and Femicide: Reading the Popular Culture of Murder in Ciudad Juárez,” Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies 32:1 (Spring 2007): 53-86. [ALL]

 Dic. 7: Género, trabajo, y violencia en la cultura popular

Discutir “La Malintzin de la Maquila” de Fuentes (ver el 9 de noviembre) y el artículo de Volk/Schlotterman. [SPAN]

Dec 8, 13: Remapping the Terrain:  Rethinking Border “Security” and Establishing Cross Border Solidarities

Dec. 8: Cross-Border Solidarities

David Bacon, Building a Culture of Cross-Border Solidarity  (Los Angeles: Instutute for Transnational Social Change, Labor Center-UCLA), May 2011. [ALL]

Kathleen Staudt, “Violence at the Border: Broadening the Discourse to Include Feminism, Human Security, and Deeper Democracy,” in Kathleen Staudt, Tony Payan, and Z. Anthony Kruszewski, eds., Human Rights Along the U.S.-Mexico Border (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2009), pp.1-27. [ALL]

*Jefferson Cowie, Capital Moves. RCA’s Seventy-Year Quest for Cheap Labor, Ch. 7 (“The Distances In Between”), pp. 180-201. [ALL]

Susan Eaton, “A New Kind of Southern Strategy,” The Nation (August 29-September 5, 2011): 18-21. [ALL]

Dec. 13: Expanded Thesis Statement for Final Research Paper due

Dec. 13: Concluding discussion.


Final Research Paper due: Dec. 19, 11:00 AM. NOTE: You must apply for (and get) and official Incomplete if you want to turn in your paper after this time; if you don’t have an official incomplete, I won’t read your paper.


(Photo: David Bacon: March for Amnesty and Equality, San Francisco)