Border Studies Program


  • We are still accepting applications for the Spring 2015 Border Studies Program! The deadline for applying is October 17, 2014. Apply now!
  • The BSP is excited to announce that we have new staff and family member, Alisha Vasquez! Read her bio and a brief Q&A here!
  • Maddie Taterka, Contributing Editor for Autostraddle and Fall 2012 BSP Alum, recently published a piece on the detention of child migrants in Arizona.
  • Spring 2014 Border Studies Program alum Alex Cook is working this summer with migrant advocacy group Migrant Justice. Read about his work with the Vermont based organization here.
  • Marcos Ramos, Earlham grad and Spring 2013 BSP alum is spending his summer in his native Brazil after having won a Davis Project for Peace Grant for his project “Navigating Discourses of Sexuality: Resistance to Homophobia in Brazil”. Read more here.
  • Read the participants' updates from the Borderlands and follow their experiences throughout the semester at our Border Studies blog.
  • Read BSP Instructor Katie Sharar's piece for NACLA's Border Wars blog on immigration enforcement in Texas' Big Bend region.
  • Click below to check out our Facebook & Twitter pages and follow what the BSP is currently up to!
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Courses | Supervised Field Study | Language Learning | Living Arrangements | Cultural Excursions |
How To Apply

Political Economy of Food & Migration (4 credits)

This course explores historical and theoretical analyses of the international political economy and its continuing effects on communities and ecosystems around the world. Students develop a critical analysis of the global economy with a focus on food production and distribution and how it relates to labor and migration. Critical study of migration, development, and border enforcement will be emphasized. Students will also engage various alternative models proposed by scholars and social movement leaders that aim to achieve sustainable living methods for ecosystems and communities. Travel seminars along the border and into the interior of Mexico are key components of this course. 

Critical Issues in the Borderlands (4 credits)

In this course students engage relevant and pressing social and environmental issues in the broader border region through visits to and discussions with organizations and individuals who engage border realities daily. In addition, multiple angles of addressing the issues that are confronted here are presented to gain a more complex understanding of the region. Sample visits may include an immigration detenion facility and immigrant-rights organizations; a border rancher and the Sierra Club; a permaculture/border justice center; and/or teachers and students in Ethnic Studies classrooms. Students are required to reflect critically and throughtfully; individually and collectively; and orally and through written expression on these visits.

Field Study in the Borderlands (4 credits)

Field study placements are central to the student experience in the Border Studies Program. Students complete an average of 10-15 hours per week with an organization or school in Tucson. This component of the program gives students professional and practical experience while also providing an opportunity to be directly involved in the community. Field studies also act as a bridge between academia and community based work aimed at social change and environmental justice.

Toward Social Change (4 credits)

This course explores what it means to work for social and environmental change, on individual, interpersonal and social-structural levels. The class seeks to understand how our experiences, backgrounds, and identities inform, complicate, and strengthen our work for social change--in the borderlands and beyond. Additionally, the course calls upon the unique dynamics of the Tucson region, and the particular places students visit in Latin America, and in the borderlands to explore issues of race, class, nationality, gender, and sexuality. Students are asked to examine and locate themselves within specific examples of work for social and environmental change. Potential examples include food justice, critical pedagogy/education, gentrification, (inter)national solidarity work, and student movements. 

Spanish Language and Borderlands Culture (2 credits)

A course that blends an examination of borderlands culture and the themes touched on in the other program coursework with Spanish language instruction.

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