Migrants, Picnic across the border, Tecate, Mexico - USA, 2017

JR, Migrants, Picnic across the border, Tecate, Mexico - USA, 2017

Click here to learn more about this artist & his work

Border & Migration Studies in LatinX America, Spring 2025

Spanish 215: LatinX Border & Migration

What is a border, geographically speaking? What is like to live on the border or on the margins?

It is said that the border is a contact zone, a meeting point, a way to transfer and share information, an invitation to (in)tolerance and ex/inclusion.  This course invites students to examine a historical and contemporary topic so close to all of us: the U.S.-Mexico border and its ongoing historical and political debates. The class takes a journey from historical understanding of the Monroe Doctrine to today, taking into consideration different types of migration policies. Drawing from cultural studies, border studies, migration and race theory, this class uses cultural and literary lenses to explore the social and political issues regarding migration, contact zones, transculturation, and/or diaspora. We will consider the various meanings of the word “border” or “frontera”.  What does it mean in political and legal terms? How do we conceive the border in cultural, literary, linguistic, political, judicial, and personal ways?  We will read texts from history, politics, cultural anthropology, literature, and theatre to grasp the vast understanding of what life is on the border. Emphasis will be on the humanities, paying close attention to how visual artists (theater, performance, documentaries) understand and confront life on the border.

A NEW Constellations course taught by Professor Paola Hernández, taught in English.


Constellations Borders & Migration Studies

Spanish/CHICLA 215: LatinX Border & Migration 

Class Number: TBD
3 Credits, Lecture: TBD, plus discussion
Requisites: None
Course Designation: Humanities or social science; Ethnic studies
Level: Elementary
L&S Credit: Counts as Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S

Mode of Instruction: In Person


Prof. Paola Hernández

Prof. Paola S. Hernández specializes in contemporary Latin American theatre, performance, and Latinx Studies. She is a member of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, as well as Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies and Chicanx and Latinx programs. Prof. Hernández teaches a variety of courses on visual arts, migration, and border studies, as well as theatre and performance studies of the Americas, and has staged a variety of Latin American plays on campus. This new course on the border introduces topics of the historical, social, and artistic ramifications between the U.S. and Mexico. Her first book, The Theatre of Argentina and Chile: Globalization and Disenchantment (Corregidor 2009) explores the impact of globalization on the social, cultural, and economies of Argentine and Chilean theatre. Her second book, Staging Lives in Latin American Theater: Bodies, Objects, Archives (Northwestern University Press 2021), analyzes how material objects and archives—photographs, videos, and documents such as witness reports, legal briefs, and letters—come to life onstage. Hernández argues that present-day, live performances utilize these material archives to reinterpret recent traumatic histories in Latin America. She has recently published on Latinx American theatre in Fifty Key Figures in Latinx and Latin American Theatre (Routledge 2022). Her current work focuses on how visual artists on and around the U.S.-Mexico border relate to different manifestations of this contact zone as a geographic, historic, and political place of encounters and possibilities.

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Constellations and the CHICLA Certificate are two separate, but highly-related programs: the Borders & Migration in LatinX America course can be a starting point for students interested in pursuing the CHICLA Certificate. Students who take Borders & Migration Studies in LatinX America earn 3 credits toward the total 15 credits needed to complete the certificate.  The CHICLA Certificate is offered through the Chican@ & Latin@ Studies Program.