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Border Studies

Program themes

The Border Studies Program explores salient topics of our time:

  • transnational migration
  • ​neo-liberal globalization
  • the militarization of policing
  • struggles for environmental justice
  • ethnic studies and gender studies
  • indigenous rights
  • language justice
  • community-building in diverse regions
  • organizing, activism, and movement building


“​This program is life-changing and something I will hold in my heart and mind forever.”


Key Program Elements

The southern Arizona borderlands are defined by intense contestation around a host of issues that are coming to define the 21st century. In this context, we have created a structured, dynamic, semester-long program that allows students an immersive engagement with:

  • hands-on experience in contemporary justice struggles
  • an expansive curriculum that values grassroots knowledge
  • an approach that challenges students to understand and articulate the context and implications of their own positionalities
  • homestays with diverse, local families
  • community-based internships in grassroots and/or non-profit organizations
  • short and overnight excursions throughout the Borderlands region, including Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and the Mexican state of Sonora
  • an intentional community of critical thinkers, learners, and activists
  • a rigorous academic curriculum



The unique combination of coursework, field studies, and travel seminars create an outstanding opportunity for you to deepen your understanding of your own positionalities in relation to space, a multitude of communities, and their particular struggles for social justice. Excursions also allow you to explore academic themes such as migration, the global economy, environmental degradation, development, sustainability, transnational communities, international boundaries, and justice in a land marked by numerous inequalities.


Experiential Learning

The travel seminars, excursions, and community engagements are intended to enhance your understanding of the different issues faced by border communities today. As one aspect of the program’s experiential learning curriculum, you will engage with diverse people and community organizations working along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border by traveling to different locales.

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