A spring 2006 course with a travel component brought four St. Lawrence students and
their professor to a region that's a flashpoint in recent headlines: the border
between the United States and Mexico.
Global Studies 250, taught by Assistant Professor of Global Studies Martha Chew
Sanchez, is called La Frontera: Cultural Identities on the Mexican-U.S. Borderland;
it is cross-listed in Native American studies. As part of the course, participants
travel to the border area during spring break, investigating "the cultural
expressions derived from the interactions among people on both sides of the
Participating this semester are Frank Valadez '07, of Clayton, NY; Ann Sargent '08, of
Westwood, MA; Ashley Leman '07, of East Aurora, NY; and Nicole Aronski '07, of Fayetteville,
The course description states, "The goal of the course is to understand the different ways
in which immigration, drug-smuggling and transnational industries affect the everyday lives
of borderlanders. This course will take both historical and critical approaches to cultural
expression, whether music, images or other forms of discourse, that have served as mechanisms
to mediate the contradictions arising out of the border."
The group traveled to El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, where students stayed with Mexican
host families and experienced life in a sanctuary for migrants on the U.S. side.
This was the third time that Chew Sanchez, who grew up in the region and studied at the
University of Texas in El Paso, has traveled with students there. Migration and cultural
expressions of migrants are part of her research; her book Corridos in Migrant Memory, will
be released by the University of New Mexico Press in June. Corridos are ballads.
Included in the trip was a visit to Annunciation House, a resource for migrants in
El Paso; CEDIMAC (Center for the Integral Development of Women) in Juarez; Paquime,
an archaeological site in Chihuahua; and a community of Tarahumaras, part of the
Uto-Aztecan native lineage who are closely related to the Apaches of the Southwestern
For more information: Global Studies at St. Lawrence
Spanish, in Modern Languages and Literatures
Community-Based Learning at St. Lawrence
Posted: April 5, 2006