Earlham College: Border Studies in Arizona
Program Terms: Fall Semester, Spring Semester
Taught in: English
Housing: (Spanish Speaking or Bilingual) Homestay
Language Courses: Spanish
Fall - One year of college-level Spanish (or equivalent)
Spring - Two years of college-level Spanish (or equivalent)
Border Studies: The Roots and Routes of Migration
This program strives to develop new leaders in the field of migration and human rights, thereby encouraging thoughtful and engaged citizens who are well informed and grounded in their own individual experiences. Participants on this program have the unique opportunity of linking communities and geographic spaces together through direct living, working, and travel experiences that will accompany academic study. The semester allows students to enhance their understanding and analysis of migration, the global economy, transnational communities, international boundaries, and other key issues.
The program is centered in rigorous academic work including classroom study, meaningful community engagement, and personal experience. Each student will live with a host family throughout their stay on the border. Students will participate in a core seminar on migration that includes a travel component, which will take students to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala, and throughout the Arizona / Sonora borderlands. Furthermore, all students will be immersed in an extended field study placement.
This program offers students opportunities to explore alternatives to the policies that have influenced current patterns of migration, and to speak with communities of people on both sides of the border dedicated to constructing a world where people can exercise their right to migrate or their right to stay home.
Tucson, Arizona – Mexico – Guatemala
This program is based in Tucson Arizona. Extensive travel seminars and excursions to the U.S./Mexico border, to Mexico, and to Guatemala create an outstanding opportunity for students to engage in an analysis of migration, the global economy, environmental degradation, development, sustainability, transnational communities, international boundaries, and justice in a land marked by numerous inequalities.
Students in the past have been able to engage in conversations with migrants, collaborate with activist groups, and participate in service projects at some of the excursion sites. Location options and final decisions may depend on security issues or other factors, including timely events.
The Roots and Routes of Migration Seminar: 4 Credits
This course aims to provide students with the contextual background necessary for understanding migration in the twenty-first century. Students will examine undocumented migration from Central America and Mexico the United States by following the flow of historical and structural causes to its consequences for individuals and communities affected. The course also asks students to engage with some of the important and dynamic changes taking place in the age of border militarization and immigrant criminalization. Students will be asked to think critically about global inequality and economic development, the history of migration and the Mexico-United States boundary, the migrant journey and crossing the border, labor and life inside the United States for people without papers, and much more.
Field Study in the Borderlands: 4 credits
Field study placements are central to the student experience in the Border Studies Program. Students complete 12 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 addressing the needs of society.
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 Mexico, Guatemala, 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.
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 detention 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 thoughtfully; individually and collectively; and orally and through written expression on these visits.
The Border Studies Spanish Language Course: 2 credits
The Spanish course draws class content directly from the issues and themes experienced throughout the semester, such as border enforcement, neoliberalism, ethnic studies, feminism, free trade, food justice, and the migrant journey. This helps students prepare for excursions, travel seminars, field studies, and casual conversations with host families, among others. Active community members visit the classroom to give presentations in Spanish, expanding students’ knowledge on relevant issues while directly contributing to language acquisition.
Possible Credits: 18 credit hours
For the first week of the program, students will reside together during the orientation period. The orientation will culminate in a host family reception where students and families will meet for the first time and begin the semester together. From then on, participants will live with host families in Tucson until the end of the semester.
The homestay placements are typically with immigrant families who predominantly speak Spanish in the household. The homestay is an enriching experience where students and families alike learn and grow. Members of the host families have personal insight into the issues explored in the program and offer students new perspectives on life in the borderlands.
Program Website: http://www.earlham.edu/border-studies/
Student Blogs: https://borderstudiesblog.wordpress.com