T Th 3:30-5:00, F295 HAAS        Education 186AC | Ethnic Studies 159AC | Geography 159AC

Readings

The lectures will be accompanied with readings, which can be found in the reader, in bCourses, online, and in the required books. There will be periodic optional readings, with the intention to deepen students’ understanding of the material. Optional readings are marked in this syllabus with an asterisk (**).

 

WEEK 1 - OVERVIEW

Thursday, August 24 – Introduction to course


WEEK 2 - MEXICO: FROM CONQUEST THROUGH THE MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR

We begin by examining a historical context for Mexico and the U.S. that frames a dimension of the course. According to Octavio Paz, the iconic Mexican poet, essayist, and Nobel Laureate in literature, the U.S. and Mexico have profoundly different conceptions of history:

“The United States was founded on a land without a past. The historical memory of Americans is European, not American... Exactly the opposite is true for Mexico, land of superimposed pasts... Every Mexican bears within him this continuity, which goes back two thousand years.”

This week, the course focuses on the conquest and transformation of the societies that were to become the United States and Mexico. In doing this, we provide a context for understanding Mexico’s history, its relationship to the U.S., and the development of its culture.

Additionally, studying the Mexican-American War is essential for understanding the development of Mexican nationalism and culture. The prelude to this war and its conduct reflecs key aspects of U.S. politics and its outcome shaped the contemporary border between Mexico and the United States.

Tuesday, August 29 – Spanish Conquest Through Mexican Independence: the formation of a culture, a people, a nation

Thursday, August 31 – Manifest Destiny and the Mexican-American War: a war of conquest and a new border

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WEEK 3 - MEXICAN REVOLUTION AND ITS LEGACY

Familiarity with the Mexican Revolution is fundamental to understanding modern Mexico, both politically and culturally. This week, we approach the Revolution by studying the role of the United States. The ideals and the leaders behind the Mexican Revolution still inspire a large proportion of the Mexican-American community in the U.S. today. Understanding their accomplishments is key to bridging Mexican and American cultures.

In the second class in this week, we analyze the complex historical development of the Mexican political system, the role this regime played in the relations between Mexico and the U.S., and its impact on the lives of the many people who immigrated to the U.S. during the twentieth century.

Tuesday, September 5 – The Mexican Revolution

Thursday, September 7 – Rise and Fall of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI): 1929-2000: defining a new state

WEEK 4 - THE GREAT DEPRESSION ACROSS BORDERS

This week, we will look at how art connects residents of the U.S. and Mexico. Through a study of Diego Rivera in Detroit, we will learn how Detroit inspired the artist and we will see the work he created in response. Through a study of Frida Kahlo and the tensions between her Mexican identity and the American culture, we will gain a deeper understanding of the cultural connection that exists between the countries.

In the second class of the week, we will see how the migration of the “Oakies” sheds light on the experience of people during the Great Depression. We will study the forces behind the mass migration of the “Okies,” and the discrimination, abuse, and exploitation they suffered as migrants in California. An extraordinary story in its own right, this experience provides a point of reference for the reception of migrants today.

Tuesday, September 12 – Art Crosses Borders: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo

Tuesday, September 14 – California: the Migration of the Oakies

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WEEK 5 - MEXICO: FALL & RETURN OF THE PRI

This week is key to understanding Mexico’s struggles for democracy, the role of the United States in that process, and the impact on both Mexicans and Americans on both sides of the border.

In the second half of this week, students examine a case study on impunity by watching a documentary created by two Berkeley graduate students. This film not only portrays a reality in Mexico, but also shows how Berkeley students can engage with these critical issues, with real world implications.

Tuesday, September 19 – The Fall and Return of the PRI

Thursday, September 21 – Impunity and the Rule of Law

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WEEK 6 - MIDTERM #1 / CENTRAL AMERICA: GUATEMALA

Studying Guatemala serves as a window into the United States’ involvement in Latin America during the Cold War. We will look at the powerful role of American business interests, as well as the consequences of U.S. interventions. This particular case sheds light on American Cold War politics, and contributes to the understanding of the US government’s role in the struggles of many Latin American countries.

Tuesday, September 26 – **MIDTERM #1**

Thursday, September 28 – Cold War/Guatemala

WEEK 7 ­– GUATEMALA/DRUGS AND ILLICIT ECONOMIES

This week is fundamental for the students’ comprehension of the deep historical and cultural linkages between the United States, Guatemala, and Mexico. The examination of contemporary Guatemala provides an essential perspective on the migration of thousands of children from Central America to the U.S.

In the second class, we will look at drug-related violence in the context of complex international networks.

Tuesday, October 3 – Contemporary Guatemala

Thursday, October 5 – Drugs and Illicit Economies

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WEEK 8 - CLIMATE CHANGE / NAFTA, LABOR, AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

Tuesday, October 10 – Drugs and Illegal Economies / Climate Change

In the first class, we will examine climate change as a global challenge and its impact on people and cultures. We will particularly focus on how Latin American countries are addressing this urgent issue, as compared to the United States.

NAFTA is studied not from the perspective of “one country v. the other,” but from the perspective of workers and communities on both sides of the border. In addition to examining struggles shared by workers in the U.S. and Mexico, we will see how trade agreements can benefit and/or hurt them.

Thursday, October 12 – NAFTA and the Global Economy

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WEEK 9 – NAFTA, LABOR, AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY / IMMIGRATION

In the first class this week, we will look at the labor movements on both sides of the border. We will specifically focus on Cesar Chavez and the struggles that Mexican farmworkers still face today. In addition, we will see how Mexican workers have been inspired by U.S.-based unions to fight for their rights in Mexico. Finally, we will examine the development of cultures among workers that are often ignored.

The second class this week provides a perspective on migration in the United States. We will see how certain US and Mexican immigration policies have impacted the flow of migrants and issues of inequality.

Tuesday, October 17 – Labor

Thursday, October 19 — Immigration

 

WEEK 10 – IMMIGRATION/2016 U.S. ELECTION

In the first class this week, we will look at migration as a personal story. In the second class, we will study the electoral power of Latinos, and how it is/is not leveraged. We will particularly focus on the 2016 US presidential election.

Tuesday, October 24 — Immigration

Thursday, October 26 — The 2016 U.S. Election and the Latino Vote

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WEEK 11 – EDUCATION / MIDTERM #2

The topic of education naturally follows immigration and the Latino vote, as education is a key part of the integration process for migrants and their families. The guest speaker, Carmelita Reyes, inspires students not only through her own story, but also through her school’s efforts to question education policy and develop successful education strategies for non-English speakers.

 

October 31 - Education

November 2 - MIDTERM #2

 

WEEK 12 – CHILE

The Chile case complements the Guatemala case as a pivotal U.S. intervention during the Cold War. We will look at the formation of neoliberalism as an economic strategy and the ways in which it was applied in Chile. We will look at the human rights abuses, exiles, and the price working class families paid for the economic changes introduced. We will then focus on Chile’s path to democracy, economic growth, and a sustainable future.

Tuesday, November 7 – Chile: September 11, 1973 and its Aftermath

Thursday, November 9 - Chile's Transition to Democracy

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WEEK 13 - HAITI / CUBA


We will briefly examine the extraordinary, neglected history of Haiti and this country’s relation to the U.S. and the rest of the world. We will also examine the themes of racism and migration in the context of the Haitian refugee diaspora.

In the second class, we will study Cuba. We will focus on President John F. Kennedy’s administration, the Castro brothers, Cuban-Americans in the U.S., and recent developments in the diplomatic relations between the two governments. We will also explore the cultural transformation of Southern Florida and the tensions between Cubans, Haitians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, other Latin Americans and the local population of Anglo and African-Americans

Tuesday, November 14  – Haiti: Current Realities        

November 17 – Cuba: The Context

WEEK 14 - CUBA (continued)

Tuesday, November 21 – Cuba: Today and Tomorrow

Thursday, November 23 - *THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY*


WEEK 15 - BOTERO/SUMMING UP

The study of Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib series offers the perfect conclusion for this course. Botero is an exceptional artist who was born in Colombia and whose work is known throughout the world. This series of 60 paintings and drawing depicted tortures that occurred at the Abu Ghraib prison during the U.S. intervention in Iraq. We also learn about art’s power as a tool for communication and change.

Tuesday, November 28 – The Art of Fernando Botero: Abu Ghraib

 

Thursday, November 30 – Summing Up

 

December 15 - 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm - ** FINAL EXAM ** - LOCATION TBA

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