Summer 2015 - HIST 486 D100

Studies in History II (4)

Class Number: 3586

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 11 – Aug 10, 2015: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Special topics.


Studies in History  II: Borders and Borderlands in North America

The crossing of national borders has become increasingly regulated in a post 9/11 world, even as goods of various kinds move across them with a facility that could not have been imagined in the past. With the boundaries that transect the continent of North America as our primary focus, we will consider the power of shared national borders to divide and to connect, to define and to exclude, at various stages in the history of Canada, the United States and northern Mexico. What does a focus on borders and borderlands history reveal that a singular focus on national history may obscure? How have the 49th parallel and the U.S.-Mexico border been imagined in popular culture and film, and how has this shaped what they signify and the ways each has been managed? How do perceptions of each of these boundaries differ depending on where one is situated or how one is positioned in relation to it? And finally, how have recent border and borderlands histories complicated our understanding both of the ways in which national borders function and key moments in the history of Canada, the United States, and Mexico? Specific topics to be addressed include the racialization and medicalization of the Canada-U.S. and Mexico-U.S. borders; their environmental and economic impact; indigenous rights in relation to these borders; immigration and exclusion laws; and efforts to avoid or subvert the constraints such laws have imposed on movement across these boundaries.  
This is a history course designed to help students develop a critical understanding of both borders and borderlands histories in North America and of comparative and transnational methodologies. This course will also provide students with an opportunity to hone their ability to critically evaluate historical


  • Participation 20%
  • Presentation & Outline (2) 20%
  • Seminar Journal 20%
  • Book Review Essay 15%
  • Final Analytical Essay 25%



Benjamin H. Johnson and Andrew R. Graybill, eds. Bridging National Borders in North      America: Transnational and Comparative Histories (Duke University Press, 2010).  

Assigned articles and materials available through SFU Electronic Journals and Canvas

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